compassion, collaboration & cooperation iN transistion
"If I can't picture it, I can't understand it"
This high-profile bravura exhibition in London's West End is the first of
its kind to set before the general public the work of artists and designers
who suffer from dyslexia. Most of the 73 exhibitors are members of the
Arts Dyslexia Trust and the idea was to present work, not only from the
fine arts, but from designers of all kinds including scientists and engineers.
An exhibition of works by visually inventive minds demonstrating the
"art of the possible" - as Michael Grove puts it in his electronic media
programme - both past and present.
Thomas G. West will be giving illustrated talks and leading discussions on -
"aspects of visual thinking" - throughout the course of the exhibition.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519)
No one typifies the powerful visually-dominant mind better than Leonardo. The sheer breadth of talent that he displayed - he could solve problems in astronomy, mathematics, engineering, geology, optics, physiology, music, botany and comparative anatomy - while being best known to us and probably to his contemporaries as an artist, scientist, and inventor - all this gives a measure of the depth of potential such a MIND can contain. It shows too the integrative global vision which is often a feature of innovative dyslexic thought.
His way of thinking is most transparently revealed in what must be his greatest gift to posterity - the famous Notebooks. Five pages from these can be studied in this exhibition. But not only is the brilliant inventive mind and the unsurpassed skill in drawing made abundantly clear in these pages, so is his verbal irregularity. Beautiful as it is to look at his writing contains many eccentric errors of spelling, of a kind which is often seen by experienced assessors of dyslexic writing. They would also recognise an all too familiar inability to order the pages correctly. At one point he says disarmingly that he will put his notes in order " when I have time ", but, of course, there were always more interesting things to do.
He was left-handed and his right to left - "mirror writing" is often commented on. Less well known, perhaps, is the fact that he could also paint or draw backwards - sometimes portraying a landscape scene in mirrored form. This can be checked from actual landscapes which still exist.
Aware of his own lingusitic problems he wrote " They will say that being without letters I cannot
say properly what I want to treat of ". He refutes such allegations by pointing out elsewhere that the use of drawing " gives knowledge that is impossible for writers " to convey in words " without an infinitely tedious and confused prolixity of writing ". Put simply: good drawing can sometimes shout louder than words!
An example of his brilliant use of visual spatial analogy was his application of the principles of arch construction to the design of a self-sealing gate for canal locks. He simply turned the arch on its side, so that the vertical pressure and arch withstands in a building was replaced by the horizontal pressure of water in a river.
This invention is still used in lock gates today, where the "eddies of water flow",
so beloved of Leonardo, are "reflected" in the works of Bridget Riley.
First Posted by Michael Grove in April 20th 1993, prior to his posting @zaadz in 2006
Amboise. April 1519
"Be it known to all persons, present and to come, that at the court of our Lord the King at Amboise before those present living at the place known as Le Clos Luce, who have travelled with me in duty to this haven, that I commend my soul to Him above, duly considering the certainty of death and the comfort it may bring, that they despair not.
For the pattern of life shall continue and man shall learn more as to his welfare and conduct and shall benefit as he may wish from my humble investigations.
But THE greatest bond in life is LOVE , and that should receive a fuller understanding and be the basis of righteousness in all dealings between man and woman. That is the great mystery which can provide the logic for our being in this world, and it is more substantial than the creation of machines or weapons.
Dreams are the passionate release of our souls, and in them is the spirit contained by which we should preserve and fulfill our lives, so that in death we will have acquitted our dues and not been envious of others."
In pace, Io Leonardo
" I found within the court to my dismay that I was at every turn confronted with the views of official scholars - men who spent their lives in study of things or merely claimed the truth.
Their days at court gave rise to futile speculation and great heated babbling concerning matters steeped in cant and helpless superstition and I was in no way esteemed for my ability to speak of knowledge learned by observation, so I kept my peace.
There were odd times when forced by confrontation or command to express my own opinion I thrust myself upon them in no uncertain manner, and much to their dismay, though I feared such times with all my heart and soul.
For often the discoveries I had made about our world would not find words enough to describe them and I would hang in open sentence while all about men would take me for an idiot.
The more I spoke the more I sensed my isolation.
The minds of men shut down on simple truth or they talk instead of "higher science " as though it were untouchable to common mortals and governed by the stars.
If I soiled my hands in experimentation I was treated with contempt as one who dabble in lower science.
Had I to accept to accept their view as a beggar who
holds out his hand to receive a piece of stale-bread ?
Was it not honourable to find oneself by sweat of brow and observation that there is only ONE science which Nature herself practices inside dark caves & in the breasts of nightingales alike ?
She abhors the vacuum which she would have found inside their books if not inside their heads."
Ralph Steadman after Leonardo in I LEONARDO
PERCEPTION IS indeed THE MEDIUM
Bridget Riley is about the changes - progressive, sometimes abrupt, sometimes apparently disastrous - that can take place in a given situation.
The situation is presented in the simplest possible terms
John Russell - Sunday Times - September 1963
One of the most distinctive characteristics of Bridget Riley's art is that it "insists" with such concentration that it changes sensory response into something else.
The experience which Riley offers is closely related to the expression of emotion or, more exactly, to the creation of visual analogues for sharply particularized states of
The very intensity of the assault which her painting makes on the eye drives it, as it were, past the point at which it is merely a matter of optical effect.
It becomes acute physical sensation, apprehended kinesthetically as mental tension or mental release, anxiety or exhileration, heightened self-awareness or heightened awareness of unfamiliar or even alien states of being.
Bridget Riley Catalogue introduction - David Thompson
Venice Biennale, June 1968
Leonardo was right all along, new medical scans show -
He has long been praised as one of the finest artists of the Renaissance, working far ahead of his time and producing some of the world’s most recognisable works.
But Leonardo da Vinci has finally received the credit he deserves for his “startling” medical accuracy hundreds of years in advance of his peers, as scientists match his anatomical drawings with modern day MRI scans.
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Thomas West's book “In the Mind's Eye” was launched by him in the UK - in support of this initiative - and he subsequently wrote ...
” since the Arts Dyslexia Trust exhibition in London, I have thought fondly of all the people I met and I try to consider what the long term effects might be. I imagine much good will come of it in time & I want you to know that I am still full of wonder and admiration at the work you did to make it all happen - and how well everything turned out. You have provided a shining example for us all of what one can do when you forge ahead with courage and vision. ”
another transformational book - at least for me -
How to Think Like Leonardo by Michael Gelb
Godess of Love said
I have been called many labels , and yes this is one.
Yet for me I have found it amazing tool , as I have always had to think how can I learn this , and take it at new levels , that most never think of even doing.
For me I love every part of who I am . As when you can make something like this into a better way of life everyone wins.
YES IT IS an amazing tool, but in the context of the time when I was asked as an
Air Traffic Controller, to discuss the differences between 2D & 3D THINKERS,
at a conference of teachers of dyslexic students, I WAS AMAZED to discover that
very few of the teachers were left-handed and none of them dyslexic; and was
further disposed to ask the question …
HOW CAN those who are NOT dyslexic HOPE to understand the teaching requirements of those that ARE; particularly in the context of predominantly 2D thinking teachers, teaching those that are predominantly 3D thinkers ?
IS IT NOT …
like having a bus driver teaching an air traffic controller how to do his job ?
AS YOU CAN, no doubt, well imagine the attitude of those that DON’T UNDERSTAND can be most enlightening !
I am a visual learner and a visual thinker. It is important for anyone to find out what type of learner they are. When I was a kid up to when I grew up I was terrible in Math. I was surprised that I can grasp Math concepts I found hard before easily due to a different learning style that I used. So it was not my problem but my teachers who were not able to motivate me correctly in the right direction.
Thank you for this great blog Michael.
I’m kinda curious about this but i guess it has something to do with how we use the power of our mind? i really don’t have the absolute idea but I’m looking forward to know more about this. i will see to it if this
book is available here and hopefully i will buy one because i have an intense enthusiasm of understanding human mind. i am done reading the book entitled “the secret” by Rhonda Byrne and indeed there are a lot of things to be discovered there and one of the perspective given was Albert Einstein (1877-1955) statement:
“Imagination is Everything. it is the preview of life’s coming attractions”
in short, it is the power of visualization which everyone of us is capable
of doing if and only if we we’re aware of the power of our mind.
anyway, thank you for this blog. indeed i am very much willing to read about this book(= God bless.
“Imagination alone can give us a vision of the future.” - INDEED
Godess of Love said
Exactly, now one can ever, understand, or even teach me , or anyone , that is not open to this thought , or mind set.
That is why, I am just within the last while blooming, as I am around people that are like minded , and I have just grown , leaps , and bound from this kind of education.
Wow, amazing , I am touched, and bow , to all that has touched my grace here.
With love to you all,
“EVOLUTION as a SPIRITUAL PROCESS” no less !
I have spoken at length, throughout my zbloggings@gaia, about the urgent need for a MIND-SET switch from an OLD ORDER to NEW ORDER ENVIRONMENT; and had genuinely believed that, in their quest for more open and transparent democratic representation, the PEOPLE”s collective influence over the MIND-SET of our new masters of the globe would be sufficient to initiate the switch.
IT IS NOW apparent, however, in the light of the global events that have taken place over the last three years and our new masters reactions to those events, that NO BETTER understanding exists today in our masters MIND-SET than pertained hitherto.
MATTERS have IN FACT got worse instead of better; to the extent that IT appears to be as if the BIG PICTURE can ONLY BE “SEEN” through a collection of word descriptions rather than a drawing and that any change of interpretation of the drawing can ONLY be manifested by a change of the definition of the words used to describe the BIG PICTURE, rather than take “cogniscence” of Einstein's words …
” If I can't picture it, I can't understand it ”