Abstract Origins

Chauvet Cave, Vallon-Pont-d’Arc, France (photo: Dr. Jean Clottes)
Chauvet Cave, Vallon-Pont-d’Arc, France (photo: Dr. Jean Clottes)

Through the motif of the red dot, Randee Silv considers the continuum of abstract painting extending back 40,800 years.

Silv concludes: "Zig-zags. Grids. Nested curves. Clouds of dots. The edges of vision. 'Neurological bridge.' 'Neural artifacts.' The human nervous system hasn’t changed. Whether provoked through repetitive music, dancing, hallucinogenic plants, lack of food, chanting, sensory deprivation or a cave’s carbon dioxide, these visual percepts are wired into us. Oscillating. Expanding. Compressing. They mix and swirl with cultural expectations before congealing into recognizable forms. David Lewis-Williams wrote about this entoptic phenomena. Abstract marks before iconic imagery."