Andrew W. Mellon Faculty Seminars at the Mead 2009-2015
Changing Perceptions: Exploring Color, Context, and Content in Teaching at the Mead
Thursday, September 10 and Friday, September 11, 2015
Guest Scholars: Prof. Susan Barry and Prof. Jeffrey Saletnik
Using the exhibition Intersecting Colors: Josef Albers and His Contemporaries as a point of departure, seminar participants will explore how meaning is created through critical examination of works of art and how that meaning may change when the viewing context is altered.
Guest scholars Barry and Saletnik open the seminar Thursday evening with a panel discussion about the visual theory and neuroscience underlying the work of artist Josef Albers (1888–1976). On Friday afternoon, participants will explore the relative nature of color perception in greater depth and investigate ways these insights can inform other experiences with context and content. Building on the interests and expertise of the participating faculty, the visiting experts, in coordination with Mead staff, will demonstrate how close examination of a carefully chosen group of artworks can prompt critical inquiry and offer multiple perspectives on content and meaning. Particular emphasis will be placed on changing perceptions and the fluidity of interpretation based on context. Participants will gain experience in collaborative investigation, a pedagogical method that can be used in teaching, often leading to creative meaning-making and transformative learning.
Guest scholars: Susan Barry is a professor of biological sciences at Mount Holyoke College, specializing in stereovision and neuron plasticity. She is the author of Fixing My Gaze: A Scientist’s Journey into Seeing in Three Dimensions (Basic Books, 2009). Jeffrey Saletnik is an assistant professor of art history at Indiana University Bloomington. His research interests include European modernism, media theory, and relationships between the visual arts and music. He taught at Amherst College as a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Art and the History of Art from 2011 to 2013. Professors Barry and Saletnik are both contributors to the exhibition catalogue Intersecting Colors: Josef Albers and His Contemporaries.