Pareidolia – The tendency to perceive a specific, often meaningful image in a random or ambiguous visual pattern. …[the] human ability to see shapes or make pictures out of randomness. (Merriam-Webster).
These paintings depict the experience of moonlight (trees seen and unseen on moonlit nights) and are made by the light of the moon. While making them, the artist's eyes fully adjust to near-darkness.
The work provides an insight to a universe of shadows invisible by daylight, an order of perception which is hidden and void until the sun gives way to the moon.
In synthetic low-light conditions, viewers experience the work in a way which approximates to the near-darkness in which it was made.
Pulsford has discovered that a powerful illusionistic effect is triggered when the work is viewed in conditions of specific controlled installation. He calls the effect Pareidolia-Max. The experience of illusion, because it is linked to progressive optical adjustment and to unconscious interpretation, is dynamic (it changes from moment to moment) and is unique to each individual.
The work is accessible to those who allow their eyes to adjust significantly to lower light conditions.
Viewers agree to spend a minimum 10 minutes in pro-active contemplation, after which adjustment time the pareidolean illusions become increasingly apparent.
The Paintings by Moonlight are static, non-cinematic, non-performance artworks which nevertheless require time for assimilation and for the unfolding of an interpretive and progressive narrative.
Film, theatre, dance, music: for many art forms an arc of time is a standard requirement. The implication of pareidolia is that some static visual art also requires of its 'audience' an arc of time.
It may be said that this is a truism; pareidolia presents it as absolute. The proclamation is : you will see nothing without the investment of time.
This innovatory curation was planned for Summerhall, Edinburgh in April 2020. Watch this space for news about its rescheduling.