The Tree in Winter
Art from contemporary neurology
The Tree in Winter: Art from contemporary neurology project encompasses a wide range of research work and art pieces made over a long period of time starting from the year 2000, which reflect Andrew Carnie's continuing interest in neurology and the opportunities medical and scientific research in this area provides a visual artist. They can best be exemplified in the following sub-projects:-
A short video on the work made to accompany the exhibition, The Winter Tree at the Discovery Centre in 2018 : -
"The Tree in Winter" is a set of project that has produced a series of artworks by Andrew Carnie, including "Magic Forest”, "Complex Brain Spreading Arbor" and amongst others "Here There and Everywhere" which cross art, neuroscience, biology, and technology. These proposals are an extension of the artist's ongoing interest in current research on neuroscience and biology, the results of which deepen our understanding of the human body. The basis of this project is derived from the "tree-like" structure of the dendrites that allow, among other functions, the functioning of our thinking.
Through 3D projections and light installations, Carnie's project reflects the interdisciplinary work behind its production. From the participation of neurologist Dr. Richard Wingate and the historical work of the Spanish anatomist Santiago Ramon Y Cahal, the final result shows us that art and science are not distant forms of knowledge, as stereotypes tend to fall into. They can complement each other: just as scientific drawing helped to represent what science could not, science helped art to create more complex abstract representations.
Both science and art share the spirit of breaking with established knowledge and searching for the unknown; the profoundly human desire to decipher the meaning and harmony of the whole that surrounds us. This concept is reflected in Carnie's artistic productions, inspired by the workings of the brain, which show us that neuroscience can be a work of art. At the same time, in a strikingly aesthetic way, the artist represents important concepts and discoveries in the field of neuroscience.
"The Tree in Winter" highlights the intrinsic beauty of the brain, but also offers a surprising angle on the question: the famous "tree-shaped" structure is present everywhere, not only inside living organisms but in the world around us. We can even think that these images bear a strong resemblance to modern art techniques, from abstract creations to natural landscapes. Can we also think of parallelism of the multicolored print offered by the sensory neurons with a painting by Joan Miró, or perhaps Monet? Art can imitate science and vice versa.
The surprising field of neuroscience is also present in new technologies, which have shaped our relationship with our environment in recent years. So, the similarities between performance-optimized artificial neural networks and biological vision are striking, leading us to reflect on the ways of storing information, and how the digital is slowly overtaking the analog, and the human.
"The Tree in Winter" is not only an aesthetic proposal, it also gives light to continue on the path to understanding how the human creates, thinks, and exists; which is still a challenge for current neuroscience, a branch of knowledge that even today remains the most enigmatic.
Nadia Evangelina Carrizo: art critic and curator, Venuzuela