Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Is it a door or a doorway?

Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten what you went in there for? Research by Psychology Professor Gabriel Radvansky from the University of Notre Dame suggests that the doorway itself is the cause of these memory lapses.

"Entering or exiting through a doorway serves as an 'event boundary' in the mind, which separates episodes of activity and files them away," according to Radvansky. In other words, your brain files away the thoughts you had in one room in preparation for a new locale and new information.

I think we artists can be misled by edges in a similar way. Just as a doorway can trigger an event boundary for information retrieval, too many hard edges prevent us from visually exploring the possibilities of transition and unity. When we paint outlines and hard edges we are creating barriers which are often difficult to overcome. This "stop and start" approach to painting makes it even more difficult to see how all those "pieces" fit together.

"Edges allow us to define spaces, see their boundaries as well as what flows across them, and work with these flows. They are places of transition and translation, where matter and energy change speed or stop, or often, change into something else."
                                          Gaia's Garden, a Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture
                                          by Toby Hemenway