Robert Pepperell investigates the nature of the conscious mind through painting and drawing, scientific experimentation and philosophical inquiry.
He has exhibited at Ars Electronica, the Barbican Gallery, Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art, the ICA, and the Millennium Dome, and published several books, including The Posthuman Condition (1995 and 2003) and The Postdigital Membrane (with Michael Punt, 2000), as well as articles, reviews and papers, and is Professor of Fine Art at Cardiff School of Art & Design.
Many of Pepperell’s paintings and drawings induce an indeterminate mental state in which what we see cannot be matched with what we know. Instead of recognizable objects the viewer is presented with — what the art historian Dario Gamboni has called — a ‘potential image’ containing a multiplicity of possible meanings, none of which ever finally resolves.
More recent work attempts to capture the experience of looking at objects in the world using a new form of ‘natural perspective’ based on the structure of human vision. The aim is not to record what is in the world, but the experience of seeing the world from an embodied point of view.
My research combines methods from art and science to investigate the nature of visual experience and how it can be represented. With colleagues, I am developing a new form of pictorial perspective based on the phenomenology of visual perception. For hundreds of years our culture has relied on the principles of linear perspective to represent the visual world, and this has underpinned our general approach to image making and image technology. However, linear perspective fails to capture key aspects of visual experience. Alternative methods of depicting visual space, many of which have been developed by artists, are better able to represent how we see. The goal of my research is to contribute to our understanding of how we perceive the world by combining knowledge from science, humanities and the arts.
Robert Pepperell, PhD
Professor of Fine Art
Cardiff School of Art & Design
Cardiff CF5 2YB, UK
Pepperell, R. (2017). Imaging Human Vision: An Artistic Perspective, in Human Vision and Electronic Imaging 2017, edited by Bernice E. Rogowitz, Thrasyvoulos N. Pappas, Huib de Ridder, Proc. of SPIE-IS&T Electronic Imaging.
Ruta, N., Burleigh, A., Vigars, R., Barratt, E. & Pepperell, R. (2016). Evaluating an artistic method for depicting human visual space, Applied Vision Association meeting, London, 19th December 2016.
Ruta, N., Burleigh, A. & Pepperell, R. (2016). Smaller hands, bigger head: a perceptual trend in artistic portraits, Experimental Psychology Society meeting, London, 4th – 6th January 2017.
Pepperell, R. (2016). Sargy Mann, Euan Uglow and subjective realism: the revolutionary achievement of modern British painting, The Collection, Lincoln/Cadogan Contemporary, London.
Pepperell, R. (2016). Where do we see? Perception, Vol. 44(51), p. 73.
Pepperell, R. (2016). Always Learning to See: The Art and Thought of Sargy Mann, Art & Perception, Volume 4, Issue 4, DOI: 10.1163/22134913-00002056.
Baldwin, J., Burleigh, A., Pepperell, R. & Ruta, N. (2016). The Perceived Size and Shape of Objects in Peripheral Vision, i-Perception, July-August 2016 vol. 7 no. 4, DOI: 10.1177/2041669516661900.
Koenderink, J., van Doorn, A., Pinna, B. & Pepperell, R. (2016). Facing the Spectator, i-Perception, November-December 2016, pp. 1–29, DOI: 10.1177/2041669516675181
Zhu, Z., Martin, R. R., Pepperell, R. & Burleigh, A. (2016). 3D Modeling and Motion Parallax for Improved Videoconferencing. Computational Visual Media, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp. 131-142. DOI: 10.1007/s41095-016-0038-4
Pepperell, R. (2016). Neuroscience and Posthuman Memory, in Memory in the Twenty-first Century: New Critical Perspectives from the Arts, Humanities and Sciences, Sebastian Groes (ed.). London: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 330-33.
Koenderink, J., van Doorn, A., Pinna, B. & Pepperell, R. (2016). Armchair perspective preferences, Art & Perception, 4(1-2), pp. 39-56. DOI: 10.1163/22134913-00002044.
Koenderink, J., van Doorn, A., Pinna, B., & Pepperell, R. (2016). On right and wrong drawings, Art & Perception, 4(1-2), pp. 1-38. DOI: 10.1163/22134913-00002043.
Vano-Vinuales, J., Pepperell, R., Corradi, G. & Munar, E. (2015). Visual Preference for Curvature and Art Paintings: Some Data, Perception, Volume 44, p. 30.
Pepperell, R. (2015). Artworks as Dichotomous Objects: Implications for the scientific study of aesthetic experience. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2015.00295.
Pepperell, R. and Hughes, L. (2015). As Seen: Modern British Painting and Visual Experience. Tate Papers, Spring 2015.
Pepperell, R. & Ishai, A. (2015). ‘Indeterminate Artworks and the Human Brain’, Art, Aesthetics and the Brain, eds. M. Nadal, J. Houston, L. Agnati, F. Mora and C. J. Cela Conde. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 143-153.
Pepperell, R. (2015). Egocentric perspective: Depicting the body from its own point of view. Leonardo 48(5), pp. 424-429.
Pepperell, R. and Burleigh, A. (2014). Improvements in and relating to image making. International Patent Treaty Cooperation, WO2014122477 A1.
Baldwin, J, Burleigh, A. and Pepperell, R. (2014). Comparing artistic and geometrical perspective depictions of space in the visual field. i-Perception, Vol. 5, pp. 536-547.
Pepperell, R and Haertel, M. (2014). Do artists use linear perspective to depict visual space? Perception, 43(5), pp. 395-416
Green, J. and Pepperell, R. (2013). How can visual experience be depicted? A study of close-up double vision, in Arts and Humanities in Higher Education.
Pepperell, R. and Ruschkowski, A. (2013). ‘Double Vision as a Pictorial Depth Cue’, in Art & Perception 1:1.
Manzotti, R. and Pepperell, R. (2013). ‘Denying the content-vehicle distinction: a response to ‘The New Mind Revisited’, in AI & Society, 28:4.
Muth, C., Pepperell, R. and Carbon, C. C. (2013) ‘Give me Gestalt! Preference for cubist artworks revealing high detectability of objects’, in Leonardo, 46:5.
Pepperell, R. (2012). Art and Externalism, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 19, No. 11, Pp. 107-127.
Pepperell, R. (2012). The Perception of Art and the Science of Perception, in Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XVII, edited by Bernice E. Rogowitz, Thrasyvoulos N. Pappas, Huib de Ridder, Proc. of SPIE-IS&T Electronic Imaging, SPIE Vol. 8291, 829113.
Manzotti, R. and Pepperell, R. (2012). The New Mind: Thinking beyond the head, AI & Society.
Pepperell, R. (2012) ‘Indeterminacy and Realism in Cinema and Art’ in Realism After the European Avant-Garde, ed. Ohlschlager, C., Perrone Capano and Borso, V., Verlag Transcript: Bielefeld.
Pepperell, R. (2011) ‘Connecting Art and the Brain’, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
Pepperell, R. (2011) ‘Art and Extensionism’ in Situated Aesthetics: Art Beyond the Skin, (ed. Riccardo Manzotti), Exeter: Imprint Academic.
Pepperell, R. (2010) ‘Art Connections to Literature and Science’, in The Routledge Companion to Art, Literature and Science. London: Routledge.
Pepperell, R. (2009). ‘The Conscious Act of Looking at a Painting’ in Consciousness Literature and the Arts, Vol. 10 No. 2.
Pepperell, R. (2009). ‘An Information Sublime’, editorial in Leonardo, Vol. 42 No. 5.
Pepperell, R. (2009). ‘Art and the fractured unity of consciousness’ in New Realities: Being Syncretic Consciousness Reframed: The Planetary Collegium’s IXth International Research Conference Series: Edition Angewandte. Ascott, R.; Bast, G.; Fiel, W.; Jahrmann, M.; Schnell, R. (eds.). New York, Vienna: Springer.
Wallraven, C., Kaulard, K., Kürner, C. and Pepperell, R. (2008). In the Eye of the Beholder: The Perception of Indeterminate Art. Leonardo Vol. 41, No. 2. Wallraven, C., Kaulard, K., Kürner, C., Pepperell, R and Bülthoff, H. (2007).
Psychophysics for perception of (in)determinate art. In APGV 2007. New York, NY: ACM Press, pp. 115–122.Pepperell, R. (2007). Art, Perception and Indeterminacy. Journal of Contemporary Aesthetics, Volume 5.
Pepperell, R. (2007). Manifesto del Posthumano. Dopo l’umano, Kainos 2. Milano: Ediziono Punto Rosso.
Ishai, A., Fairhall, S. & Pepperell, R. (2007) Perception, memory and aesthetics of indeterminate art. Brain Research Bulletin, Volume 73, Issues 4- 6, pp. 319-324.
Pepperell, R. (2007). Posthumanismi manifest. Vihik: Journal of the Estonian Literary Society. No. 12: 14-24. Tartu: Eesti Kirjanduse Selts.
Pepperell, R. (2007). Putting Art to the Test. Dialogue, Issue 2. Axis Publications.
Pepperell, R. (2007). Applications for Conscious Systems. AI & Society. Volume 21:3.
Pepperell, R. (2006). Seeing Without Objects: Visual Indeterminacy and Art. Leonardo. Vol. 39:5.
Pepperell, R and Punt, M., (eds) (2006). Screen Consciousness: Mind, World and Cinema. Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi.
Pepperell, R. (2005). Towards a Conscious Art. in Ascott, R. (ed.) (2005) Engineering Nature: Art and Consciousness in the Post-Biological Era. Bristol: Intellect Books.
Pepperell. R. (2005). Consciousness and the Screen. In Consciousness Literature and the Arts. Cambridge Scholars Press: Cambridge.
Pepperell, R. (2005). Visual Indeterminacy. In Proceedings of Altered States: transformations of perception, place, and performance. University of Plymouth.
Pepperell, R. (2005). Posthumans and Extended Experience, Journal of Evolution and Technology. (Volume 4, 1).