“From Cosmology to Neurology and Back Again” at Whitespace

“From Cosmology to Neurology and Back Again,” curated by Dr. Jerry Cullum, explores the ways in which cognitive sciences drive the discussion about the nature of investigation in the sciences and humanities and the resulting impact on artists.

The show is about our new understanding of the neurological underpinnings that make it difficult for us to imagine the extended relationships among complex systems of order, whether natural or cultural. Using “water” as an example that relates to both nature and culture, the relevant scientific and cultural variables make it extraordinarily difficult to understand the implications of the conditions of the world’s rivers, oceans and glaciers. Everything from economic interests to our own mental presuppositions make it almost impossible to re-envision the complex systems involved. The “default settings” of our own brains have to be overcome, in order to survey such complex systems in new and responsible ways.

Cognitive sciences offer a new perspective on perception: on why we cannot seem to grasp more than a fraction of the implications of complex systems, on why we tend to overvalue whichever parts of the system we ourselves take as our area of specialization, on why human frailty and emotion tend to affect or infect all our efforts at what used to be called “pure rationality.”

“From Cosmology to Neurology and Back Again” is a metaphor-laden exhibition meant to provoke reflection about these complex sets of interactions and the reasons we find it so difficult to keep all of them in mind at the same time. The show includes works by a variety of international and local artists, including Terri Dilling, Sissi Fonseca, Hugo Fortes, Todd Murphy, Rachel Rosalen, Seana Reilly, Ann Stewart and Marcia Vaitsman.

Jerry Cullum (Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies, Emory University) is a freelance critic and curator whose essays and reviews have appeared in numerous publications, from Art in America to the Journal of Architectural Education and the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. He has curated exhibitions throughout the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom. His most recent publications include portions of Noplaceness: Art in a Post-Urban Landscape (co-authored with Catherine Fox and Cinqué Hicks) and In the Eye of the Muses: Selections from the Clark Atlanta University Collection (co-authored with Tina Dunkley).

Jerry Cullum will give a curator’s talk about the exhibition at the gallery on August 2 at 7 p.m.

Through August 4.

814 Edgewood Ave.
Atlanta, Ga.

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