Stuart Shils – The Structure of Perception and the Perception of Structure

Instructor: Stuart Shils

This class is intended to push the mid-range to advanced painter further into a kind of visual boot camp. Each day brings a concentrated and comprehensive work schedule, but will also be fun and productive. Emphasis will be placed on 1) examining the perceptual processes in front of nature; 2) the editorial response that follows in the head of the painter and how that takes form graphically; and 3) perhaps most importantly, on shaking up and/or questioning what is meant by “finish.” We will not be concerned with making anything “pretty,” sellable or “trophy-like.” There will be a daily demonstration, the point of which will be to discuss via demonstration a cluster of concerns: 1) how to enter into the work and establish an immediate formal direction; 2) what is perceptual unity as opposed to an inventory like description of objects; 3) what is editorial discrimination; 4) how to analyse light; and 5) the development of color on the palette and its relationship to the painting. Drawing and compositional strategy will also be a focus. Regardless of what we think we “know,” before nature each one of us is reminded how much there is still to do and how substantial one’s muscles need to be in order to contend with the complexity of what we see and then with what we invent. This class is designed to rationally examine the structure of the perceptual moment.