HATTIESBURG – Harvard
professor and neurobiologist Dr. Margaret Livingstone is an authority
on the science of visual perception. She will share the results
of the research for her book Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing
in a guest lecture at The University of Southern Mississippi at
6 p.m. March 10 at Bennett Auditorium.
"The lecture should appeal to many on campus
and in the community--be they artists or art enthusiasts, scientists
or psychologists," said Mark Rigsby, director of the Museum
of Art at Southern Miss. Partners for the Arts is also sponsoring
the free public lecture.
A review of Livingstone's book sums up its broad appeal:
"Successfully linking art with visual perception, she demonstrates
that commonalities exist between artistic sensibility and our visual
As a full-fledged neurobiologist, Livingstone has
the background to simplify the range of scientific information that
forms the common ground of visual art and visual science without
explaining away the power of art.
"Artists have been doing experiments on vision
longer than neurobiologists. Some major works of art have made major
discoveries about how we see," Livingstone said. "Artists
have long realized that color and luminance can play independent
roles in visual perception."
To back her theory, she cites renowned artist Pablo
Picasso, who believed that "colors are only symbols
is to be found in luminance alone." For Livingstone, many techniques
developed over the centuries by artists can be understood in terms
of the parallel organization of our visual systems.
In her lecture, Livingstone will explore "how
the segregation of color and luminance processing are the basis
for why some Impressionist paintings seem to shimmer, why some pop
art paintings seem to move, some principles of Matisse's use of
color, and how the Impressionists painted 'air.'"
In addition, Livingstone will show how the differences
in resolution across one's visual field make the smile of the Mona
Lisa elusive and why learning disabilities may be associated with
some kinds of artistic talent.
The lecture is presented in conjunction with the museum's
current exhibition, "A View to the Past: Old Master Prints
and Drawings from the New Orleans Museum of Art," from NOMA's
permanent collection of prints and drawings. The exhibition runs
through March 24 and features approximately 80 drawings and prints
that have not been shown outside the New Orleans Museum.
The Museum of Art at Southern Miss is located in the
Fine Arts Building at the southwest corner of the campus. The hours
are Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m-5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Admission to the museum is free and open to the public. School and
community group tours are welcome. For more information on the Livingstone
lecture or the exhibition, call (601) 266-5200.