the 8 artistic principles


6-22 March 2014
gallery open: thurS - Sat 12 - 6pm

benjamin brett / jack brindley / 
alice browne / jess flood - paddock


Our daily lives are spent in a generalised, unremarkable state of ordinary consciousness in which we do not experience emotion, what might be described as mood fluctuations, whose movements are more or less good, bad or indifferent. We experience (or potentially experience) emotion when there is a deviation or irregularity from the norm, provoking an interest. Artists deliberately perform operations that come instinctively, consciously or unconsciously, to confuse our everyday schemas. In doing so they attract attention, sustain interest, and create emotion in their audiences.(1)

According to V.S. Ramachandran and William Hirstein’s research, the artist, consciously or not, employs eight universal principles when making work to stimulate the audience’s brain. These principles act as a framework for understanding visual art, aesthetics and design. The principles explain why we instantly respond to an artwork more than others, they are not fixed in terms of originality or the evocativeness of individual artworks.(2)



2. Isolation of a single cue

3.Perceptual grouping

4. Extraction of contrast

5. Perceptual problem solving

6. Unique advantage point

7. Visual Metaphors


The selected artists demonstrate one or more of the eight principles. Using the principles we can explain why we are drawn to them without thinking about the context or the interest of the artist. Our interest in the works can be described by one of the eight principles. Allowing use to consider to what extent taste or education come into play when viewing artworks. Is art actually a matter of triggering our inbuilt responses, as apposed to an academic interpretation?

Benjamin Brett (b.1982) lives and works in London, graduating from the RCA in 2013. He has recently exhibited in a group show, Synesthesium at Ana Cristea Gallery, New York. He will be included in the upcoming Thames and Hudson publication 100 Painters of Tomorrow.

Jack Brindley (b.1987) lives and works in London, graduating from the RCA in 2013. He was selected as one of the Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2012 and has recently had a solo show at Pippy Houldsworth Gallery earlier this year.

Alice Browne (b.1986) lives and works in London, graduating from Wimbledon College of Art in 2009. Her recent shows include In Place at Limoncello Gallery, London and Sequence at Annarumma Gallery, Naples.

Jess Flood-Paddock (b.1977) lives and works in London. She has been awarded the Kenneth Armitage Foundation Fellowship, including a two year studio residency in London and has an upcoming solo show at Carl Freedman Gallery.

(1) Ellen Dissanayake (2009) “The artification hypothesis and its relevance to cognitive science, evolutionary aesthetics, and neuroaesthetics”. Cognitive Semiotics 5, 148-173.

(2) Ramachandran, V.S.; Hirstein, William (1999). "The Science of Art: A Neurological Theory of Aesthetic Experience". Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (6-7): 15–51.

  Benjamin Brett, Jack Brindley, Alice Browne, Jess Flood-Paddock, Joshua Lockwood, The Attic, Nottingham