Octopus Meditations

Octopus Meditations

Ed Kerns, Clapp Professor of Art at Lafayette College, has been exploring levels of consciousness for years and using layers of paint to create an abstract understanding of awareness.

His Octopus Meditations exhibition, which opens at 6 p.m. on April 7th at Brick and Mortar Gallery in Easton, is another manifestation of his perception of consciousness. Paintings from the series have also been selected for permanent display in Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center.

Kerns was inspired by Bernardo Kastrup’s article in Scientific American about levels of consciousness, Sy Montgomery’s book The Soul of an Octopus, and numerous collaborations with neuroscientists and biologists over his 45-year career.

“It’s something I have been thinking about for years in visual collaborative work with neuroscientists, computer scientists, and biologists,” he says.

Octopus Meditations is another manifestation of consciousness, he says.

“I wondered what octopus consciousness might look like,” Kerns says. “They are brilliant. They have nine brains and an integrated network, which presupposes a different kind of awareness or consciousness. Humans have a central processing unit with the brain and neurons intimately connected with our body.”

“Their perception of the world, however, is likely to be very different from ours given the distinctive organization of their nervous system,” says Elaine Reynolds, associate professor of biology at Lafayette College.

Kerns’ art envisions it through an imaginary world.

“So, I’ve been working on what consciousness means,” he says. “Not what goes on when we think, but what it really means.”

Octopus Meditations will be on display until May 12 at Brick and Mortar Art Gallery, 1247 Simon Blvd., Suite N101, Easton. Gallery hours are Saturdays 12-6 p.m. or by appointment.

TO LEARN MORE, call 908-619-7559 or visit brickandmortargallery.com. 

Scheduled to open in 2019the $75 million Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center is the largest capital project in Lafayette College history. It will be one of the country’s most innovative collegiate buildings and house scholars teaching and conducting research in biology, computer science, environmental science, and neuroscience. To learn more, visit liveconnected.lafayette.edu/isc/

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