Your Brain on Art

“…although the reductionist approaches of scientists and artists are not identical in their aims—scientists use reductionism to solve a complex problem and artists use it to elicit a new perceptual and emotional response in the beholder—they are analogous.”

Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures, Eric R. Kandel, Part 1 Introduction.

When I became aware of this book by Eric Kandel I was excited and intrigued. I never bought into the long-touted theory that art and science reside at opposites of a spectrum. Science is formal, intellectual and complicated; while art—especially modern art—is emotional, spontaneous and subjective. So, I am continually looking for theories and essays that explore commonalties between these realms.

As much as I want to learn more about Mr. Kandel theory, I also have some reservations about his book’s premise (which is how he presents the above quote). My hesitation comes from the way he differentiates between the goals of scientists and artists. I see both artists and scientists solving complex problems and striving to change perceptions. Maybe I have to understand reductionism better, or at least comprehend the argument Mr. Kandel is presenting.

So far I’ve only read the sample of Reductionism in Art and Brain Science which means it’s entirely too soon to draw conclusions. I am anxious to read the rest of the book. I’m sure I’ll have more to say once I have.