Open to Interpretation: an Exhibition Presents the Art and Science of the Inkblot
January 15, 2008
Two Drexel University professors, psychologist Dr. Eric Zillmer and graphic designer John Langdon, have crossed disciplines to present the art and science of the traditional inkblot in an exhibition at Drexel’s Leonard Pearlstein Gallery through Feb. 8.
This unique exhibition investigates the iconic image and process of the inkblot, presented as both a method of artistic expression, and as a scientific tool for studying personality and the perceptual process. Regardless of the context, art or science, it is clear that the inkblot, through its symmetry and anthropomorphic quality, has the inherent ability to elicit interpretation of its image. Shape-shifting from the simplest collectively recognizable image of a bat or a moth to complex and detailed images seen only by the individual, inkblots are as limited and limitless as the viewers experience and way of seeing.
Original inkblots by artist and designer Langdon elevate the perceived simplicity of the inkblot from basic monoprint to complex ambigrams. Known for his research in ambigrams, Langdon applies his expertise to create word plays developed using the inkblot technique. The partially abstracted text can be read as a symmetrical image from both the left and right, of which an example can be seen on the inside spine of the exhibition announcement.
Zillmer’s research into the science of inkblot analysis presents a rare opportunity to see a complete set of clinical Inkblots prints in conjunction with a collection of clinical responses. The presented interpretations range from predictable and ‘normal’ readings, to those of the clinically disturbed. The exhibition asks the audience to interpret the same images, although not as a controlled analysis, and compare and contrast their interpretation with that of the presented responses.
Langdon is a graphic designer, artist, author, and graphic design professor at Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design. Zillmer is the Carl R. Pacifico Professor of Neuropsychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, the director of Athletics at Drexel University, and a frequent contributor to Rorschach literature.
The Leonard Pearlstein Gallery is located adjacent to Nesbitt Hall (33rd and Market Streets) in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts and Design. This unique architectural addition to the College was designed by the firm of Sandvold/Blanda and was dedicated in 2002. Since its dedication, the Pearlstein Gallery has been committed to exhibiting the work of local, national, and international contemporary artists and designers and is grateful for the continuing support of the Pearlstein family.
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