In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Reply to Roger Malina
  • John Jupe

Visual art does not just supply an "object in the field of vision." Most great visual art is about "visual perception." Artists are the great observers. We are specialists in the field.

My document [1] was not sent to Leonardo for publication, but for information and idea exchange from which specific targeted areas could be developed for publication. Perhaps I did not make this point clearly enough.

By far the greater part of the document sent to you for comment outlined my observations on visual perception through my specialty: paintings (fine art). I make intelligent reference to the work of past masters and clearly illustrate and support the points. I can assure you there is a very powerful point made here. It is this content that has interested the vision scientists at the European Association for Vision and Eye Research (EVER). In your assessment of my work you make no reference to this nor indeed show any interest.

There are clear contradictions between the scientific conceptual model of visual perception and the direct observation and record making of artists. The fundamentals are not aligned, and attempts by vision scientists and art historians (usually referencing the work of vision scientists) to date are weak. I am suggesting that a principal assumption made about the mechanics of our sense of vision will need to be overturned before a meaningful alignment can be made. The shift required is both fundamental and conceptual. My ideas therefore do not build on the current conceptual model of vision science, they challenge it. I am suggesting that there is a mechanical problem related to our understanding of light interactions. It is this line of inquiry that ultimately takes me to quantum-reality thought experiments, wave-particle duality and special relativity.

My efforts to establish a physical context for our reception of two distinct image types is dealt with in another document, "Tangent Matter" (which, I am sure, will contain some inaccuracies and scientific faux pas). It is interesting for me, however, that by taking this course of action and following my line of inquiry through, I am able to pinpoint a proof environment for my ideas, take that to an international scientific forum and interest them enough to take things further. Using my ideas in a practical way in the studio, I am able to paint a new type of illusionary space on a 2D environment. This is a veridical outcome. I know what I am doing and it is of interest to both scientists and artists.

Pure scientific journals are not keen on printing artwork in place of reliable tables and charts! Given the current divisions between the two disciplines (which incidentally, you illustrate in your reply to my inquiry so clearly), it is probably not advisable or desirable. While I am willing to present to pure science forums in an effort to spark debate, I need a publication that will concentrate on the art and its relevance in order to attract general debate across the disciplines. Having read the documentation, Richard Gregory (from Perception) suggested that I contact Leonardo for this specific reason.

It is strange and disappointing to me that Leonardo is not interested in this work or in developing the debate amongst its readers. It would appear that you, as a physicist, have prejudged the validity of the work in your own mind on the basis of my attempts to establish a scientific context for the discussion. This conditioned response by the executive editor will inevitably prevent much interesting work by "visual artists" being printed in Leonardo.

Following a recent radio interview with Professor Zeki, where he suggested that neuroscience will soon be able to explain most of our response to a painting, I wrote to him to point out that visual art will reveal more about visual perception and the neurology involved than neuroscience will about visual art.

The ensuing debate will be an interesting one. It is a shame that a science/art crossover publication such as Leonardo is not interested in being a part of this debate.

Yours sincerely,


Atelier 2

The Old Brewery

Lodway, Pill

Bristol BS20 ODH



Additional Information

Print ISSN
p. 446
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.