Primalism would be a way of looking at any object or event to remove the established intelligent ideas we learn to apply to what we see. The aim of this type of work would be to reveal the art experience as an old inherent way of sensing generated in the mind before conscious thought, and a Primalist artist would be looking to direct our thinking to a redundant form of perception that remains from old powers of animal instinct. This is a directly opposed working procedure to the educated definition of art – that looks to the production of works of intellectual meaning and higher learning. A Primalist Artist would be trying to explore the art experience as an inherent biological sensation of intuitive awareness that only comes to mind when our learned view of the world is disturbed, and this artist would be an individual who is particularly attuned to recall of any genetic expressions that remain from our original animal state of mind. To define Primalism from other art forms it is necessary to realise artists display two distinctly different behavioural responses to any recall of our old animal way of sensing by instinct. They will either work to suppress this experience through controlled technique – the traditional way of working – or try to reveal this experience by disrupting established values – the modern phenomena. Modern artists who look to disruption and disorder as a way of working would be individuals who are seeking to expose a direct response from our minds to how we conceive of objects and events when deprived of intelligent learned ideas. The Primalist view being that our higher thought processes have evolved to suppress this experience in our day-to-day powers of observation.
ART AS A BEHAVIOURAL RESPONSE THAT NEGATES INNATE PERCEPTION.
1_ The Idea of a Primary Universal Mechanism of Mind as an Underlying Influence in the Art Experience. The central premise of this essay rests upon the evolutionary psychological proposal that a universal state of mind, inherited by all of us, is at work as a primary mechanism within our powers of observation. Such a state of mind would endow us with an original way of sensing objects and events, created through inherent instincts, that have become buried behind our ability to project precise recognition over all we see and do. This idea is of great interest to artists because it implies our need for art could be expressing cultural behavioural responses that have developed in differing social environments to keep an older universal way of sensing sight, shape, sound and movement out of our day-to-day experience.
Because art is concerned with the way we interpret human emotions into organised forms of sight, shape, sound and movement, this idea looks towards a deeper behavioural response in any artistic endeavour, that, regardless of the social use of the outcome of an artist's work, belies a universal way of sensing. That is to say that our emotional view of the world stems from an older inherent form of perceptual awareness that is now being translated into an intelligent learned response in our modern thought processes. Art objects have always, until modern times, reflected this learned view of the world, rather than a blind 'animal' insight that was once, and still is generated for us by instinct. As to whether-or-not an artist uses art to research this older 'animal' insight is a choice that is more demanding in this day and age than ever before. No knowledge of a universal inherent psychological mechanism behind our powers of observation was understood before our time and so no artists considered it an influence upon their thought processes. Today, in science, the study of an inheritance of intuitive awareness lies at the very heart of the conceptual integration into evolutionary psychology from disciplines of psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, sociology and history, and, therefore, the implications for artistic research remain more relevant than ever before. Even though a concept of a universal state of mind would be the prime cause of an artists' involvement in rearranging our day-to-day awareness of sight, shape, sound and movement into more complex forms, this view is not, in artistic explanation, considered to be the artists main preoccupation. My reason for writing this essay is to try to alleviate this bias. I see that the scientific concept of a universal state of mind is offering a way to comprehend the art experience that is quite unlike any other theory that artists have had at their disposal in the past. For the first time in art history, we are beginning to see art may not be about cultural products, but that these products result from a more basic behavioural response to the way we sense the world. Most people working in biology accept that we have evolved from, and will have inherited, animal responses from our ancestral origins that are now overwritten in our minds by intelligent powers of observation. In the case of artistic enterprise, the product of the artists response to this inherent power of observation drives them to want to heighten how we comprehend sight, shape, sound and movement through the making of an art object. This has always been thought to be evidence of a gift of creativity, but it could also be seen, from the behavioural point of view, to be caused by artificial responses created to suppress an older experience within our minds. Indeed, we would all be acting to suppress this underlying way of sensing in every observation we make, but artists would, under this principle, be more attuned to the universal psychological mechanism still generated at the back of their minds. Such an unconscious influence at work in an artists' powers of perception would, therefore, propel an artist to work harder to suppress the effect by creating art objects that impose more order and organisation over how we experience sight, shape, sound and movement. The question I am asking here is whether-or-not artists are individuals who will possess a greater inclination towards this unconscious universal way of sensing inherent from our past? Are artists more attuned to this inheritance, and are they being driven to suppress this sensation more than the rest of us through their need to make art objects? Any person with recall of this inherent universal way of sensing would find themselves fostering uncertainty as to the accuracy of our modern thought processes in relation to visual, tactile and auditory perceptions, and the response to these sensations will be to either bury this uncertainty - by creating expertly structured and meaningful art objects or seek to expose it. In this later view, the artist will be working to create uncertainty and disorganisation as the core sensation in what they do. In basic terminology an artist would, from this point of view, be an individual who gets a little recall of an old inherent way of sensing, presumably generated from the redundant remains of our animal powers of instinct, and, because we have evolved a state of mind that works to suppress this sensation, the artist is driven, unconsciously, to find a way to impose more order and organisation over how we comprehend the world to rid their mind of the disturbing sensation. This would make art a behavioural response that an artist displays by creating an object that works to suppress an original awareness generated by instinct.
From an artists point of view the scientific model of the mind that is beginning to emerge from evolutionary psychology would place artists as individuals who retain a faint recall of a much older way of sensing the world by instinct. We have all evolved to replace this experience with reasoned intelligent thoughts that take those original impulses and transform them into learned powers of observation. This makes us look at our surroundings through a way of sensing that, whilst more successful than the original instinctive view, is far less intense. Artists will 'feel' our day-to-day powers of observation are lacking in depth of emotive content, and, presumably, they will set out to create work to try to redress this imbalance. Most of us don't get any hint of this sensation, but some of us will retain a perturbation caused by the original way our minds once formed its awareness of the world without reasoned thought, and if this is the case then any artist unaware of this influence will be working to suppress a universal inherent intuitive way of sensing objects and events. Such an individual will want to heighten our awareness of sight, shape, sound and movement because they 'feel' day-to-day experiences are in some way impairing their powers of perception. This will drive them to create art objects, but the realisation is that in doing this they will be working to suppress, rather then reveal, the underlying view. This concept reveals that traditional artists - by which I mean those involved in the establishing of culture from say, the rise of the Shang, Minoan, Egyptian, Indian and Sumerian civilisations, and everything we take for granted in relation to these beginnings; the fresco and canvas painting techniques, ornamental and formal sculpture, music and opera, film, museum display, and so on, are all the products of individuals - or groups of artists - who are involved in working to heighten our intelligent powers of observation. Presumably, what has arisen in the last few thousand years - and that we now class as artistic endeavour -is a behavioural response that works to offset a loss of an inherent intuitive way of sensing by instinct. This would mean art is the result of an adaptation of recall, that artists are more attuned to experiencing, of an underlying way of sensing that drives them to want to heighten our powers of observation. To do this the artist creates an art object but this is a reaction against the driving force not an attempt to reveal it . This is because all our minds work to suppress the underlying way of sensing by instinct that the artist 'feels' in their view of the world and, therefore, everything we do will be working to suppress a universal way of sensing. This is what evolutionary psychology would imply is the cause of our age old desire to create art. From the artists point of view this implies we have inherited minds that have mutated at some distant point in our past and this mutation has revealed itself in the last 40,000 years through the rise to our need to make art objects. Presumably, artists are more attuned to the original way of sensing by instinct and are, therefore, driven to rid their minds of this disturbance by making art objects.
That these art objects are then adopted for other cultural usage is a secondary consideration in this theory. The cause of the artists need to make the object in the first place is what we are interested in understanding, and regardless of its later use, this is the premise for what I term Primalism in art. You need to look beyond art history to understand that Primalism will be at work in all an artist does because it is an inherent way of sensing sight, shape, sound and movement our minds work to suppress in all we see and do. With modern knowledge about our distant origins in the hunter-gather mentality of the Pleistocene era it can now be realised that the cultural use of art is a very recent development in what an art object actually represents. The cultural usage of art objects is an adaptation of a far greater implication that the art object upholds, and this stems from our most distant ancestors who spent the last two million years as Pleistocene hunter-gatherers. They left no trace of a need for art, and, of course, several hundred million years before that we were foraging and scavenging in the natural world with only this universal mechanism of mind that we have now buried under intelligent cultural learning.
Picturing the vast time involved before the rise of art objects is important because it allows an artist to realise a very different set of conditions underlie their desire to make art. We are not talking about art here as a cultural phenomena, but as a behavioural response to an inherent way of sensing objects and events. That the outcome of this response creates art objects that are then adopted for cultural and social needs is a different line of enquiry. Presuming, of course, that this desire I am talking about is the true calling of the artistic mind it becomes important to understand that other considerations, like commercial and financial demands, are going to be distractions. If you are a true artist then you are working with thought patterns that originate from older powers of observation generated in your mind by instinct. This will drive you towards a deeper awareness of sight, shape, sound and movement, and this gives rise to the realisation that other demands by society and cultural requirements for your work will redirect your awareness away from exploring this older inherent power of perception. We are now born into a modern world where we are taught to manufacture required products and to adapt to a cultural information overload, but this is counter-productive in any search for a primal way of sensing objects and events. Such objects would need to avoid commercial and financial viability because these considerations are ideas of cultural and social values that have evolved to suppress the view you seek to come to know.
Artists need to see that we all possess two states of mind. One is full of intellectual learning and demands for understanding and usefulness and production, whilst the other state of mind is a much more hard wired inheritance that once sensed the world without this cultural adaptation. Behind our civilised demands there is a mind that was moulded over a vaster period of time to the hunter-gatherer life-style of the Pleistocene. As to whether-or-not you choose to seek to explore this influence or ignore it is your choice, but knowing this choice at the beginning of what you undertake is the most important realisation for the true artist. It clears the mind of undesirable commercial and financial requirements that will work to suppress the research. The evolution of this hard-wired way of sensing through your powers of instinct is far greater than the seemingly all dominant way of cultured learning that we now adopt through intelligent reasoning, and to get even the smallest glimpse of the old way of sensing through instinct you need a clear mind free of commercial and financial demands. The cultured view and its art products are more popular and desirable, but what we are talking about here is something far older and inherent in the mind. Any artist working to get to this level of mind won't be too concerned as to whether-or-not their work has viability. The consideration is just irrelevant in relation to what you are truly trying to picture.
Beyond the useful cultural adaptation of the art object there is a deeper, more disturbing and uncomfortable, presence. A reminder that we may be making and using art to suppress a primal way of sensing that these objects came into existence to help us overpower. This conclusion is based upon the fact that the evolution of complex design, like the hard-wired working of our minds, is a slow process when contrasted to historical time. The few thousand years of cultured reasoning and information overload is a very recent development in a much longer relationship that we held to the origins of art, and yet even this time scale is insignificant in relation to the inheritance of the Pleistocene hunter-gather mentality. Indeed, cultural adaptation in society is so recent that it would hold an undetectably small measure on the scale of historical human evolution. The time span between the very first signs of cave art - more than 40,000 years ago - to the rise of civilisations with their cultured demand for artefacts seems vast, but in comparison to the time that preceded cave art the mentality of the hunter-gather mind at work through intuition and instinct is almost unimaginable. We simply hold no way to picture how our distant hunter-gatherer ancestors of the Pleistocene sensed their environment, and yet this way of survival is ingrained into the physical architecture of our brains. Historically speaking we are still hunter-gatherers in fine clothes. We work to suppress our animal instinct and primal desires in our cultured view of the world, but despite civilisations vast demands for us to do this, we still possess an ingrained construct of intuitive responses that don't like to be tamed. The most interesting, and complex, functions of our actions to uphold civilisation and cultured modes of thought are very thin and fragile in comparison to the hard-wired design features of the human mind that evolved over vast periods of time to a hunter-gather way of life. Whatever we civilised human beings think we are doing in day-to-day life one thing is indisputable, we are all working to suppress our inherent animal intuitive way of sensing our surrounding that we have inherited from our Pleistocene ancestors.
2 Absence of Coherent Principles in Art
In science there has developed a robust coherence to the many diverse disciplines that give to the field of enquiry a strong sense of purpose and exploratory power. All practical and theoretical work in science adheres to an overall procedure that gives to the vast diversity of subjects a singular standard of systematic analysis. No matter what field of enquiry you specialise in - psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, sociology, history, biology, genetics, etc. the overall concept of science itself upholds a singular standard of purpose. This is not the case in art where there is no direction for all the different theories and working procedures to aspire towards. No single overall purpose of endeavour exists as it does in science and one sees great contrasts of technique and theory. Painters, for example, range from those who create almost photographic realism and reflect subjects as diverse as still-life to religious icons, to those who throw paint without purpose or meaning, and no one technique or subject in art is in any way relevant or proper to the concept of art itself than any other. The traditional artist will assert that art has purpose in aspiring to the human need for spiritual ascent through the perfection and portrayal of nature, religion or to command order, and then some other modern artist will present a pile of junk and claim that removing these values is equally a work of art. Neither traditional or modern will, like the scientist, bring the contrasting view within a singular principle that disciplines the working procedure. The differing approaches share the same class in that they are all presented as art, but they stand opposed to each other rather than united as differing fields of enquiry do in the sciences. Even the many gulfs separating life from non-life have been bridged through this unity of purpose in science. The physical structure of the body has been scientifically mapped to reveal systems that work in accordance to comprehensible mechanical principles, and the mind itself is beginning to be modelled by this method. The basic unit of animal behaviour has become understood as a reflex involving the excitation of sensory receptors, conduction of electrical signals by neurons to the central nervous system where, either directly or indirectly, motor-neurons are activated. In Wöhler's footsteps, the unravelling of the molecular biology of the gene and its regulation of cellular processes has revealed that the immensely complex and functionally intricate mechanisms of life are realised in molecular mechanisms. This purpose, in science, has brought to the forefront of human thought the realisation that inert material, organised in complex ways, can form the basis of living things, and of the mind the same principle applies. The development of computers has opened directions of enquiry into how physical systems can parallel cognitive processes such as memory, information retrieval, judgement, choice, problem-solving, foresight and meaningful interaction with the environment. Even self-awareness and the sensation of free-will and the spirit and soul are emerging as a by-product of the result of the vast number of complex neurological interactions that, in we human beings, has been estimated to be as high as 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses. As science moves towards this unified integration of a rational of accumulated knowledge where humans, like every other natural system, become embodied in a seamless matrix of causation of physical events, the arts has remained disjointed. The arts cling desperately for the desire for more than a physical causation within its principles, but can the artist, like the priest, seeks enlightenment in this way? Can art afford to ignore cause and effect in its principles? I, for one, think not, and I am convinced that the artist ability to seek knowledge of perceptual experience by innate intuition is but the outcome of yet another product of this biological complexity. All the mystery about artistic endeavours needs to be stripped away and it is essential to remain objective about the art experience and not to allow the subject to drift-off into the realms of the metaphysical and the unexplainable. Art, despite its vast differences in working procedures can, like science, withstand coherent logical analysis providing the artist accepts the knowledge that science has now given to us about how our animal past would influence our present day mind. Only when artists acknowledge that they are being driven, not by some unfathomable agency, but by an inheritance of cognitive procedures that retain recall of intuitive ways of sensing our surrounding, will a more realistic model of art emerge.
Understanding, at least at a basic level, of how the cognitive procedures and inheritance of past thought processes will drive you to create an art object to suppress old underlying influences - as traditional art seems to have arisen to do – becomes essential insight. With this insight modern art could become a tool to explore the effect of the experience of objects and events that awaits to be encountered if we could learn to look without our intelligent powers of recognition, and this would foster art as a search for an older sensation we once lived with by instinct. And yet, not until such a way of understanding art is brought to bear on theory will a model of the subject be built that reveals our need for art to be a reaction to inner animal impulse. That animal don't create art is because, unlike us, they have not evolved to suppress their natural powers of perception with an artificial view created through intelligent learning. Only when we realise art is the outcome of our need to suppress animal instincts will the subject become, like science, a discipline where the vast differences of all ideas as to what art objects represent can be unified.
3 Traditional Art Objects as Agents of Suppression in an Artist's Powers of Observation.
The study of any artistic endeavour has, until recent times, followed lines of enquiry based upon the principles laid down by the social sciences. The arena of study being considered to be the outward manifestation of the artists intellect rather than any inner effect from the workings of biological and evolved psychology generated by the physical architecture of the mind. In both the social sciences and the arts the physical workings of the brain - the natural sciences - has always been held to be subservient to the output of artistic endeavour, but it is becoming understood that the actual physical architecture is the artificer. In the case of art the output is a product of more than just the intellect guiding the motor skills of the artist. There is a growing opinion that a deeper psychological motive underlies whatever an artist does, and this motive is a behavioural response that, unconsciously, has always propelled the artist to rid their thoughts of any disruptive uncontrolled inputs into what they do. The new picture sees the artist as an individual who is being pushed by the physical architecture of their brain to suppress an older way of sensing sight, shape, sound and movement. Such a model as this would imply the artist is an individual who encounters a greater degree of the influence of this old way of sensing in what they do, and they are driven to increase their need to control and organise how we comprehend sight, shape, sound and movement to offset this disturbance from the physical workings of the brain. It must be assumed we all possess this influence because, physically, artists are no different to any one of us. That they 'feel' the need to rearrange the day-to-day sensations of sight, shape, sound and movement into art objects is an outward display that they sense something within their powers of observation that most of us fail to notice. We look to the artist to reveal to us what this something is, and we believe the work they create reveals this something in the form of an artistic experience. The prevailing view has always been that the artist expresses this 'inner' sensation through the objects they make that reflect their time and place in culture, but this idea is now being challenged. If, as is becoming realised, the influence the artist suspects lurks in the depth of their mind is a product of the architecture of the way the brain has evolved then what we are talking about has little to do with culture, and far more to do with the intellect working to suppress the effect of an old underlying power of observation. The art object, from this point of view, does not express the art experience but has been created to lessen its effect because this effect is recall of an older way of sensing.
Most of us do not get any inclination of this underlying disturbance from the workings of the brain because our power of observation are dominated by our modern though process. Our intellect is all-commandeering and we don't 'feel' that our day-to-day encounters with the sensations of sight, shape, sound and movement are hiding an underlying effect. We don't 'feel' any disturbance in our day-to-day powers of observation, and so we are not driven to take these sensations and rearrange them into objects that display more order and organisation in the form of paintings, sculpture, music and dance. This view was never considered before modern times because artists did not realise we inherit an old way of sensing objects and events suppressed in day-to-day observation. Now that we hold a vision of the evolution of our brains that has arisen by adaptation and modification of an intuitive animal form, the view is emerging that what an artist experiences is a remnant of the old way of sensing objects and events that this original architecture once generated.
Presumable we have all evolved minds that work to suppress this old inherent way of sensing through our intellectual and intelligent thought patterns, but, in some of us with stronger recall of the old patterns, the view of the world we learn to build will be in some way less than perfect. Our day-to-day view will seem a little uncertain and we will set out to modify what we see, touch and hear to give it a more structured form. This is what artists seem to do, but the realisation is that this results from a response to rid the mind of the disturbance rather than reveal it. This changes the direction of enquiry into the purpose of artistic endeavour from that of the product of intellectual output to that of the result of a behavioural response to the biological architecture of the workings of the brain.
This line of enquiry into art offsets the old view where the emphasis has always been placed upon the higher workings of the intellect as the driving force of the need to create art objects. With a greater awareness of subconscious influences from the biological workings of the brain the view is beginning to form that art, like all other acts of human enterprise, has arisen in response to environmental pressures in the struggle for survival. This response would have driven us to seek to find a greater degree of accuracy in our powers of observation, and this is what an art object drives an artist to place before us; and is what we seek to find in our experience of such work. Long ago individuals, at the genesis of our awakening to our greater increase in capacity of mind, would have been encountering the very beginnings of an emerging way of sensing objects and events through reasoned thoughts. This way of sensing, that is now fully established in our minds, would have been in it's infancy and the remnants of the older, less accurate, way of sensing by animal instinct would have still held influence. Becoming aware of recognisable images in the cracks and shadows on cave walls, or in twisted tree roots or wind-eroded rocks, arises into the mind as an experience of thought that we call imagination. This way of looking at the world through an invented image removes the raw intuitive experience of what confronts us. Enforcing this invented image by emphasising shapes with coloured earth gives rise to an advanced way of sensing by learned understanding. You begin to look for the recognisable image in place of reacting by instinct to any shape, and this way of thinking helps you attain more order and organisation in your powers of observation. Animals, without the increase in capacity of mind, would, presumably, not display this behavioural response that drives us to seek to find recognisable images. The emphasis in art theory has always been placed upon what these images and products were used for, rather than why we created them in the first place. This later adaptation of the basic response of the output of the artistic mind for cultural use resulted in the products - the painted images, carved sculptures, or composing of sound into a controlled rhythmic pattern of music, or movement into dance - being employed for other social and economic needs. The images were used for hunting ritual, dance for ceremony, and so on, and this has always been considered to be the purpose of our need to make art objects,whilst the view that we could have made these things in the first place to overpower a more intuitive way of sensing, is not considered. That art objects are the by-products of a far greater underlying motive, and that this motive would seem to be a desire to suppress the older way of sensing by animal instinct, seems to be a distasteful idea because it implies our need for art arises, not from intellectual supremacy but from an unconscious biological influence.
Just as in the Standard Social Sciences Model of enquiry Art Theory seems to have developed with the idea that it is in some way divorced from the natural goings on in the physical architecture of the biological and evolved psychological patters of brain activity. Art theory seems to have developed from the age old social desire to look outwards and upwards for what influences our humanities and social interactions rather than inwards and downwards towards older less desirable origins.
4 The Concept of Evolution in Relation to the Art Experience.
“The fact that living things are machines organised to reproduce themselves and their kin does not mean that evolutionary functional analysis focuses narrowly on such issues as copulation and pregnancy (things intuitively associated with reproduction) over, say, taste preferences, vision, emotional expression, social categorisation, coalition formation, or object recognition”. John Tooby & Leda Cosmides; The Psychological Foundations of Culture; The Adapted Mind. Oxford 1993. Page 54.
Art seems greatly removed from the concept of evolution (or descent with modification, as Darwin phrased it). Evolution describes an unguided process of natural selection that works through a set of causal principles that govern the dynamics of reproduction needed to bring about cumulative adaptations that give better features suited to the task of survival. However, because accurate object recognition is needed in art - as is displayed through our ability to discern shapes and images as indicative of real world objects and events in pictures - there is a probability that this ability arose to help increase of powers of observation. Children, when they begin to draw and paint learn this need for a way of looking at an object or an event through pictorial form. Before an artist imposes socially meaningful content into their work they use their basic powers of recognition to take shapes, sounds and movement and restructure these day-to-day sensations into a greater form of ordered representation. Paint is, in the traditional sense of art, arranged to uphold the appearance of a real world object, and, at this basic level of analysis, this is a display of a state of mind that is working to structure an advanced way of looking. This is the outcome of natural selection at work in the mind, and there is no reason to postulate divine intervention for the rise of the development of art in human history. Art is no more than an advanced way of recognising sight, shape, sound and movement, and artists re-arrange these experiences to create an object that 'heightens' or intensifies our awareness of these sensations. The adaptation of this need to find a greater sense of order and organisation in an object for social and economic uses (decoration, story telling, entertainment, propaganda, etc.) can be considered a by-product of the original purpose of art as an evolved response to a 'lower' less advantageous way of recognising sight, shape, sound and movement. The seemingly easy way we learn to recognise an image in a photograph is a case worth considering. One might wonder what evolutionary advantage in the struggle for survival such an ability would endow us with before the invention of the camera, and the obvious realisation is that image recognition is a response we have evolved to display because it allows us to imagine objects in their absence. You don't have to be in front of a sabre-toothed tiger to recognise a painted outline of it on a cave wall, and this implies you have evolved to learn to generate an idea of this creature before you have to confront it. This anticipation of a real world experience, as far as we know, does not occur in the animal mind. Animals don't seem to hold the ability to recognise pictures of themselves or other things. It is, I must admit, hard to know if an animal thinks about prey when wandering the environment, or simply senses it by instinct when a threat is imminent. Do chimpanzee's dream of bananas, or do they only seek them when hunger dictates the need for food? Chimps' can be taught to point to an image of a banana, but this is not a natural response, and although many do recognise reflections of themselves in mirrors, our powers of image recognition seem to go far beyond animal responses. We seem to generate an advantage that imposes into our powers of observation a response that allows us to anticipate our powers of recognition of an object without having to go and look at the real thing. We imagine a conceptual image of a real world object in it's absence, and this, as you can imagine, is a great asset in predicting how to respond in the real world. What image recognition is giving you is the ability to predict an objects attributes before you see them, and this gives you an advantage in conceptual accuracy; it allows you to manufacture recall of a conceptual model of an object, and this is a very different behaviour response to reacting in the direct presence of the real object. This response seems unique to human thought processing, and, in evolutionary terms, this artistic way of picturing objects and events is allowing you to suppress your original intuitive responses to real world confrontations. You recognise an image of an object that, in reality, has nothing to do with the real thing – you see a face in a twisted tree root, or the outline of a horse in a wind eroded rock – and this creates, in your mind, a conceptual model that is very different to the real world experience of real faces and horses.
Few realise that artists, in our emerging species, must have been individuals who held this advantage in their powers of observation. They recognised and used coloured earth to outline images of objects and events in the world around them, and other individuals learned from these images how to think about real world objects and events in a new advantageous way. Indeed, children still learn this technique of looking at real world objects and events and translating the direct intuitive experience into an imaginary image. This, in the young, is a record of how our minds have evolved to translate an inherent way of sensing the real world experience into a form of conceptual modelling (in this case drawing) that allows us to think of objects and events before we have to go and face them. This, in effect, replaces our old way of sensing the direct experience of an object or an event through instinct. For any artist who retains recall of the remains of the old way of sensing by instinct the task becomes one of creating work that helps provoke a return to mind of this lost natural experience rather than, as traditional working practice has always done, suppress this sensation through the making of an intellectual intelligently controlled idea of art.