Color & Pattern

Great artists have a keen way of tapping into our visual system. They use color and pattern to stimulate our minds and evoke our emotions. But how?

In this video, Allen Institute researchers visit the new exhibit Color & Pattern at Seattle’s Pivot Art+Culture to show us how what our brain expects to see can have a strong impact on what it does see.

Evolution has driven our visual system to measure change, difference, and contrast. While the outside world is fixed, our visual system interprets color and pattern based on context, because context is an important component of information. For example, we need context to help us find food and avoid predators. Our basic concepts of shape, color and pattern are determined by context. This creates phenomena and effects that define the basic vocabulary of the visual world and of the artist’s palette.

Click the links below to learn more about the illusions featured in this video.