Head in the Clouds

Humans have the remarkable ability to see faces in the most arbitrary objects. For example, the popular image of the face on mars; we also see faces in clouds, food…etc.  The experience of seeing meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data is called, “Apophenia”. As an artist and ponderer, I look for these types of figures everywhere!  🙂

I would be remiss, if I did not address how the ’emoticon’ above taps into the mechanisms the brain uses for facial recognition. Indeed, those cute emoticons are automatically and subconsciously recognized as a “face” by us; although it only has a few basic features of an actual face.

http://www.redbubble.com/people/trish725/works/5332210-george-washington-the-face-in-the-clouds
Redbubble.com
GEORGE WASHINGTON. THE FACE IN THE CLOUDS

Author and scientist, Carl Sagan, theorized that “as a survival technique, human beings are ‘hard-wired’ from birth to identify the human face.”

A keen observer as well as celebrated wit, Arcimboldo created composite portraits that were both enjoyed as jokes and taken very seriously. (Skokloster Castle, Skokloster)  Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Arcimboldos-Feast-for-the-Eyes.html#ixzz2XHtsXp3T
Giuseppe Arcimboldo, 1590c.

Giuseppe Arcimboldo was a keen observer who was also celebrated for his wit. Arcimboldo created composite portraits that were both enjoyed as jokes and serious works of art. I appreciate Arcimboldo’s lightheartedness, skill, and beautifully delicious portraits.

Nevertheless, have fun looking at my drawings below, I sure had fun making them! 😉

Lauren A. Toomer Dual Lau 3.0, 2012 Graphite on paper 31.25 x 29.75 inches Graphite on paper
Lauren A. Toomer
Dual Lau 3.0, 2012
Graphite on paper
31.25 x 29.75 inches
Graphite on paper
Lauren A. Toomer Body of a Woman, 2012 Graphite, acrylic, light, shadow, on canvas and wall! 24 x 16.5 inches
Lauren A. Toomer
Body of a Woman, 2011
Graphite, acrylic, light, shadow, on canvas and wall!
24 x 16.5 inches

Leonardo da Vinci wrote of  pareidolia* (a type of apophenia) as a device for artistic minds. The artist wrote, “if you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills. You will also be able to see divers combats and figures in quick movement, and strange expressions of faces, and outlandish costumes, and an infinite number of things which you can then reduce into separate and well conceived forms.”

Pareidolia: is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus  (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant, a form of apophenia.

The mind is amazing!