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Grey Matter: Your Brain on Art

May 24, 2022 - January 29, 2023

Third Floor

John Heward, Untitled (abstraction) 356, 1990-2018, canvas, rayon, acrylic, oil, metal clamps, Gift of Sylvia Safdie, 2022

What happens inside the brain when we contemplate art?

Grey Matter: Your Brain on Art is an exhibition of a selection of recently acquired artworks from Art Windsor-Essex’s Collection. The artworks share the same monochromatic colour scheme from artists such as Manasie Akpaliapik, Marcel Barbeau, Lawren S. Harris, Colleen Heslin, John Heward, Robert Houle, Micah Lexier, Shelley Niro, Margaret Priest, Jane Ash Poitras, Kakulu Saggiaktok, Henry Saxe, Quinn Smallboy, Kara Springer, Max Streicher and more. The exhibit’s title comes from the areas in the human brain that relate to memory, emotions, decision-making, among other processes. Through this exhibition, we hope to understand our “Brain on Art” and the internal processes that occur within our minds.

Grey Matter: Your Brain on Art will have an interactive component, meaning that visitors will be able to scan a QR code beside each artwork to answer questions about what word comes to their mind while they observe the art. Imagine a collective Rorschach test. By answering the set of questions, each participant will be contributing to a visual map depicting how each piece is related in terms of single-word answers. The visual word map will contribute to a research project by the Cognitive Neuropsychology Lab at the University of Windsor. Visitors will see the visual map grow throughout the exhibition and learn how artworks are connected through meaning.

Curated by Dr. Lori Buchanan,  Julie Rae Tucker
Researcher: Claire Jackson
With support from 
Ziad Kobti

Dr. Lori Buchanan is a Professor in the Neuropsychology area. She has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Waterloo and was a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Psycholinguistics. Dr. Buchanan’s research investigates how we obtain meaning from the printed word and how that ability can be disrupted by brain damage. She is also interested in memory processes.  She teaches undergraduate Sensation and Perception and Cognitive Neuroscience and graduate Cognitive Basis of Behaviour.

Claire Jackson is an undergraduate student at the University of Windsor. She is currently working towards completing her BSc. In Behaviour, Cognition, and Neuroscience (BCN). Claire has been working in Dr. Buchanan’s Cognitive Neuropsychology lab as a research assistant since September 2019. She will also be writing her undergraduate honours thesis with Dr. Buchanan in the 2022-2023 school year.

Dr. Ziad Kobti is a Professor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Windsor. He is the former president of the Canadian Association of Artificial Intelligence. He is an active researcher in Artificial Intelligence, working on modelling human social networks and intelligent decision support systems.

Julie Rae Tucker is the Head of Public Programs and collections at Art Windsor-Essex. She is an artist and cultural worker. She is Lunaapeewi and settler of descent, a member of the Munsee Delaware First Nation. She has exhibited and curated exhibitions across Canada and in Scotland.

This exhibition is presented with support from Right Hear Audio

In this exhibit

John Heward, Untitled (abstraction) 356, 1990-2018, canvas, rayon, acrylic, oil, metal clamps, Gift of Sylvia Safdie, 2022

John Heward, Untitled (abstraction) 355, 1990-2018, Rayon, Canvas, acrylic, oil, metal clamps, 114.3 cm x 1800.0 cm, Gift of Sylvia Safdie, 2022

Shelley Niro, Borders #3 Treaties, 2008, 304.8 I x 101.6 I, Purchase, 2022

Henry Saxe, Crisscross, 2002, mixed media, paper on hardboard, 152.2 cm x 101.7 cm, Gift of Chantal Laberge, 2021

Henry Saxe, Diz’N’Bird, 2002, mixed media on paper on hardboard, 152.5 cm x 101.5 cm, Gift of Chantal Laberge, 2021

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