David Winslow Brisson was an artist whose work dealt with the visualization of mathematical structures, particularly four-dimensional geometry. He grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts and received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1953, and an MFA from Ohio University in 1955. He also studied with Hans Hofmann in Provencetown MA, in the summer of 1956. He taught at University of Rhode Island, the Kansas City Art Institute and Auburn University before becoming an Associate Professor at Rhode Island School of Design in 1965. It was at RISD that he began his visual explorations of multi-dimensional space.
In The Royal Society paper Geometric visual hallucinations, Euclidean symmetry and the functional architecture of striate cortex, it is demonstrated through a mathematical investigation that the retinocortical map of neuronal circuits determine the geometry of images experienced with eyes closed and in other states of excitation. In other words, the structure of the striate cortex, the area directly opposite the eyes at the back of the head, determines many of visual patterns we witness.
This time of year I usually create some sculptural artwork out of gourds for a local event called the Calabash. It is the primary annual fundraiser for Food for Thought, a food bank located in Forestville, California. Proceeds provide comprehensive nutrition and other services for men, women, and children affected by HIV and other serious illnesses in Sonoma County.
I thought it would be interesting to provide a behind-the-scenes look at my painting studio, since this is where I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time as I go about my current batch of Non-Representational Entoptic Phenomena. If anything, this is a record of my workspace during a productive phase and could be helpful for other artists, because I work very cheap. I’ve always been annoyed by how expensive art materials are, and I’ve managed to work very big and keep prices low.
Here’s the story of a ninth grader who failed algebra and later worked in a tire store. His specialty was the retreading machine: grind off the old tread, glop on the adhesive, align new tread on tire, seal the new tread. Repeat. Surely, this experience helped shape his later life, but it was the mediocrity of the occupation that eventually forced him to earn a degree in mathematics and send a resume to IBM. It was 1965 and IBM needed to train a few bright kids to function as electrical engineers.
Imagine for a moment that you found a 4 foot diameter round wooden oak table top, in perfectly good condition with a smooth flawless surface. Then, imagine you were an artist that was always on the lookout for round painting services, because it’s very difficult to create a round surface using traditional canvas or other materials. You bring that table top home with you because you have been planning on painting a mandala for several years.