“The brain accepts what the eyes see and our eye looks for whatever the brain wants.”
The Brain’s Eyes is a selection of works created by China Blue, during her two-year Artist-in-Residence at the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute at Rhode Island Hospital.
This exhibition is an art-neuroscience exploration of the concept that that there is no place in the human brain that does not respond to visual stimuli. Humans are visual creatures, with our eyes as the gateways that let us not only see art but explore its supravisual (beyond vision) elements to form and manipulate a mental model of something that is greater than the sum of its objective visual sensations. By bringing together literal and imaginary seeing, we are overlaying the two concepts in time: what is seen in the momentary sense and what has been imagined. Although the brain accepts what the eye looks for, it can also separately generate flights of fancy, new thoughts and conjectures. These two parallel forms of processing of visual information, the literal and the imagined, are the basis of consciousness in action.
The works on exhibit were fashioned in collaboration with Dr. Peter Snyder, Chief Research Officer for the Lifespan Hospital, and Professor of Neurology at Brown University. In this collaboration China Blue used data sets focusing on microvasculature (small blood vessels) of the human retina to produce paintings and 3D prints. She has also created the first ever true to life 3D prints of the amyloid plaques, the protein responsible for Alzheimer’s. This work was documented in the Journal of Biomedical Graphics and Computing’s paper “3D printing of beta-amyloid protein deposits along capillary walls.” Finally a six foot long 3D print of theta brain waves active during meditation is presented.
China Blue is an art pioneer who has been nominated to a two year Artist-in-Resident with the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute at the Rhode Island Hospital. This residency is a role created for her and a unique one in Rhode Island. China Blue has received three NASA/RI Space Grants. One was for her research of the sound created by NASA’s Vertical Gun. The Vertical Gun is a three meter tall meteorite impact simulator which shoots particles at Mach-10. Her project is the first proposal to study sound in the facility which has been in existence for 50 years. She is also the first person to record the Eiffel Tower in Paris and discover her sound. Her award of a Rhode Island State Council for the Arts, Fellowship was based on works that not only “employ technology in new and interesting ways” but was the “only one to explore robotics,” said the panel.
As an internationally exhibiting artist in 2013 China Blue was the US Representative at Tokyo Wondersite’s Experimental Art Fair and in 2008 at OPEN XI in Venice, Italy an exhibition held in conjunction with the Architecture Biennale. In 2012 her exhibition at the Newport Art Museum “Firefly Projects” was nominated the “Best Museum Show Nationally by the International Association of Art Critics.
Reviews of her work have been published in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Art in America, Art Forum, artCritical and NY Arts to name a few. She has been interviewed by France 3 (TV), for the film “Com-mu-nity” produced by the Architecture Institute of America and was the featured artist for the 2006 annual meeting of the Acoustic Society of America. She has been an invited speaker at Adobe, Creative Tech Week, Harvard, Yale, MIT, Berkelee School of Music, Reed College and Brown University and an adjunct professor and Fellow at Brown University in the United States. She is an adviser to Rhode Island Congressman Langevin’s Committee for Art & Culture and the state’s Art and Health Committee as well as the Founder and Executive Director of The Engine Institute.
The Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute (NPNI) established its Artist-in-Residence Program as part of its mission to create an intersection between the arts and neuroscience. This is the first art/neuroscience residency of its kind in the nation. China Blue is the leading artist to hold this position, receiving a two-year appointment as “NPNI Artist-in-Residence.” She was nominated because of her productivity and abiding interest in using imagery from the neurosciences to inform her artwork in novel ways. As a local artist, she is in an excellent position to form close working relationships with interested faculty within the NPNI and the Brown Institute for Brain Science.
The Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute (NPNI) at Lifespan is a national leader in the neurosciences, providing exceptional neurological and neurosurgical care to adults with brain or spine disorders and comprehensive care for patients in need of mental and behavioral health care.
Our renowned specialists offer innovative and collaborative approaches to treating the most complex and challenging illnesses and injuries, while our depth of experience ensures the highest level of expertise in treating the most common conditions.
China Blue is “defining a brain aesthetic,” Elsa Cameron, Founder of the SFO Museum, San Francisco, CA
Blue’s work reminds viewers that abstract art can depict a body’s reality-its feeling, its presence, its fantasies-as powerfully as representational art. Blue’s rendering of these optical organs combined with her imagination, and one glimpses the breadth of consciousness, that profound meeting of the felt and the dreamt.
Alexander Castro, Art New England, November-December 2017
November 13, 2017-March 1, 2018
Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University
222 Richmond Street, Providence, RI