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Paint, Color and Vision

Color, as a characteristic of human vision, is a major component of nearly all visual art making.  Even when it is expressly absent from a work, color often evokes its own presence.  The human visual system is typically designed to perceive a world filled with color and the physics of light is only a partial explanation.  The range of human color perception also involves a sophisticated interpretive collaboration between the eye and the brain.  For most of us, this results in reasonable visual conclusions of the world around us.  The capacity of this eye/brain collaboration has led me to wonder about how much or how little color information is actually required to conclude a rational interpretation of the visible world.  The paintings represented here are offered not only as visual biographies, but also as examples that far fewer colors are required to make a convincing representation than one might expect.  Most of the paintings utilize 16 discreet hues, unique to each image.  Yet, despite this limitation, the eye and the brain interpret more variations than might initially be apparent.  The results are convincing representations of the familiar three-dimensional world.  Simply put, the brain consistently chooses the most reasonable interpretation of all that we see.  In the case of these paintings, the brain does this by re-interpreting individual colors as they appear throughout a given image.

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