About

About Art & Shadows

Art & Shadows investigates contemporary art in light of contemporary research, screening ideas from various forms of science for their applications to art. Why is this a good idea? Imagine that there is a collective “unconscious” associated with the actions, images, and ideas of contemporary art, a repository of inherited, and often unexamined, desires and beliefs about humans and art. Cross-lighting art from new angle might reveal some of those shadowy assumptions.

Now is the time for this exploration because we are in the midst of a deep shift in the ways we explain ourselves to ourselves. Digital tools have magnified the amount and changed the kinds of data in play, opening up new questions about how we perceive, think, and imagine the world. Some of the material emerging from fields such as cognitive psychology, evolutionary biology, and neuroscience begs to be considered in tandem with contemporary art; not to explain art but to add new details and textures to the ways we talk about it.

Given the tail-chasing nature of questioning one’s own culture while living in it, I don’t expect to arrive at a unified theory in these posts. But I do expect that rubbing art against our new models of mind and society will throw some sparks. Thank you for joining me on the site to catch them. And a very warm thanks to the Art Writers Grant Program of the Andy Warhol Foundation for lighting the fire.

About Meredith Tromble

I am an artist and writer with a history of arriving at new endeavors by unlikely routes. My art writing practice began as an artist commentator for the public radio station KQED-FM in San Francisco, mostly for the show that became Sedge Thomson’s West Coast Live. The challenge of covering visual art on air led me into writing and art magazines—in a region known mostly for generating art rags that have to move elsewhere to survive. To date, I’ve authored hundreds of interviews, essays and commentaries for publications including Artweek, Aspect, and Leonardo and edited four now-defunct magazines, including LIMN and a dot-com start-up that went belly-up the day before it debuted. But a special issue of LIMN, on Art & Genetics, focused my interest in art and science, which has become my academic specialty. And my dot-com-era experiences led to a decade of participation in the artist collective Stretcher, which publishes Stretcher.org and organizes performative art events. Through it all, I’ve made work and taught, eventually becoming an Associate Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute. That rambunctious creative community has allowed me to explore my current interests in processes and histories of creativity, protocols for interdisciplinary research, and collaboration.

Credits: The banner image shows Tromble interacting with a complex system visualized in three dimensions, as a visiting artist at the KeckCAVES at the University of California, Davis. Photo by Robert Sabbatini. Website by Lotus + Pixel.

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