The exhibition An Aesthetics of Slowness embraces the limits of perception in apprehending physical experience. In their opacity and seeming transparency, the projects do not offer easily discernible representations, but instead focus our perception on the process of looking and seeing. This panel brings together two of the artists in the exhibition and a researcher of aesthetics and neuroscience to speak about their approaches to the question of perception. Ashley Billingsley will talk about her representations of landscape as a vehicle for exploring the inadequacy of the senses in deciphering direct experience. Paul Qaysi will discuss his examination of the invisible structures of perception and framing that shape notions of truth and reality about war, death and civilian casualties. Gabrielle Starr will discuss her research on how the brain responds to aesthetic stimulation.
About the artist
Ashley Billingsley is an artist based in Boston, MA. Her work examines the tenuous relationship between visual apprehension and meaning. Recent projects include Boom and Bust, a drawing installation commissioned by New York’s apexart for On the Streets, a 2014 exhibition at JavaArts in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Save Yourself, a series of drawings inspired by a moment in Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 film, Seven Samurai. She studied at School of the Art Institute of Chicago before earning a BFA from University of Minnesota-Minneapolis and an MFA from School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University combined degree program. Select exhibitions include Right Here Over There at Lexington Art League in Kentucky; Close Encounters at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts/Gallery 51 in North Adams, MA; and Beyond Purview at New Art Center in Newton, MA.
Paul Qaysi received his BFA in Sculpture from Pratt Institute in 1989, and MFA in Photography from Bard College-International Center of Photography in 2009. His photography, sculpture and animation examine the effects and representations of war that include documentation of civilian causalities and forgotten accidents of the Iraq War and other conflicts. Qaysi also produces self-portraits and photographed installations that document the conjunction of time and place. Many of these works treat themes of survival and alienation.
Gabrielle Starr is a scholar of eighteenth-century British literature and of aesthetics, as well as a researcher in experimental aesthetics. She uses the tools of cognitive neuroscience, behavioral psychology, and the humanities to explore the contours of aesthetic experience. Her most recent book is Feeling Beauty (MIT Press, 2013); it explores the ways our responses to painting, poetry and music are mediated by brain-based reward processes and by the default mode network. This work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in the form of a New Directions Fellowship to facilitate training in neuroscience, as well as by an NSF-ADVANCE grant (jointly with Nava Rubin) at New York University. She is currently director of a three-year, collaborative international project on brain responses to music, painting, and literary imagery.