Abstract Paintings; A New Place
Abstract Paintings; A New Place, come from the feeling, emotional and physical of experiencing ‘newness’.
The Feeling of Newness
I had put this down to the feeling of new neural pathways and connections, that may be one ‘fluffy’ way of describing what’s happening, however, I just found this precise and accurate explanation of the brain chemistry of ‘newness’ by Dr Michael M. Merzenrich, professor Emeritus at UC San Francisco, in his blog science 2.0
“Your brain releases several special ‘modulatory transmitters’ (chemicals that change the brain in a positive way), whenever you are pleasantly surprised. For example, norepinephrine and acetylcholine flood the brain whenever something unexpected or novel occurs in your world. If it’s a positive or delightful surprise… you feel rewarded, and your brain also releases dopamine”.
He goes on to explain that norepinephrine release is responsible for ‘turning the lights on’ or sharpening our attention when something new or unexpected takes place, while acetylcholine’s job is to ramp up the brains’ ability to record and remember the event.
The energy in the piece
This could explain on a neurological level why some events or views implant themselves firmly in our memories and imaginations and may weave themselves back into the world; in this case through abstract paintings.
I realise I’ve written that as if the event made the artwork and not the artist, and I recognise that for me that feels accurate. I want the sense of newness, the brain chemistry that I experience in the seeing to be used in the making. So the materials, the colour, the mark-making and patterns are creating those chemical releases in the brain while I’m making. If I know too much what I am doing, and predictability takes over then too often I’ve lost the energy in the piece.