Art in the Age of Emergence
This book delivers sensible emergent aesthetics, explaining the processes that happen in human minds when we share ideas as works of art, skewering the orthodoxies of contemporary art with pragmatic wisdom about why representational art thrives in the new millennium.
Art in the Age of Emergence has captured the imaginations of thinkers and artists alike. This is an indispensable read for those who want to understand representational art in the 21st Century.
Michael J. Pearce, PhD, MFA, is a figurative painter and an outspoken proponent of skill-based art. Originally from England, he now lives in Thousand Oaks, California, where he teaches at CLU. In 2012, he founded and chaired The Representational Art Conference series.
"[A] hugely enjoyable, intelligent and well-written book. Pearce has that rare ability of writing with both erudition and wit. He uses the science and literature of emergence and complexity to reinvigorate the discussion of what art is, but he manages to take us with him, captivating the reader with his encyclopedic knowledge of art, his poetic reflections on nature and life, and on what it is to be human. Pearce does more than talk about emergence; he gently enchants us with his wisdom and kindness, which ultimately offers something of an emergent experience in itself. This is a text that every artist ought to read."
Alan J. Lawson American Arts Quarterly, 36: 1 (2016)
"Michael Pearce's book is the first major effort to use emergence as a model for aesthetic theory. Partly a personal meditation, but also an exploration of scientific and philosophical ideas, Art in the Age of Emergence is intended to challenge the current orthodoxies of contemporary aesthetics. […] Art in the Age of Emergence is a dense book that is ultimately quite optimistic, and a genuine conversation-starter."
John Seed Professor of Art and Art History, Mt. Jacinta College Huffington Post
"Michael Pearce is that rare phenomenon – a practicing artist who knows art from the inside and an intellectual versed in what the cognitive sciences teach us about why we make art. This book – part personal meditation, part philosophical exploration, and part scientific survey – is rewarding reading."
Stephen R. C. Hicks Author of Explaining Postmodernism
"The slow but steady return of representational art to the mainstream cannot – and should not – be complete until it is examined, like all worthy artistic phenomena, by learned and incisive commentators who can place it in its proper philosophical contexts. With Art in the Age of Emergence, Michael Pearce has provided just such an analysis, one that is both welcome and accessible to anyone who wants to understand how and why this important development is underway."
Peter Trippi Editor-in-Chief, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine
"An author’s greatest joy is to see his life’s work brilliantly applied to new fields. The new paradigm of emergent complexity that is revolutionizing the sciences has indeed launched us into a new “age of emergence.” With penetrating insight and provocative examples, Michael Pearce builds a new theory of art upon “emergent experiences” and the artworks that inspire them. This is aesthetics in the grand tradition – after reading it you won’t see mind, matter, or art in the same way again."
Philip Clayton Author of Mind and Emergence: From Quantum to Consciousness
"Michael Pearce’s Art in the Age of Emergence is one of those rare things – a genuinely constructive work. Drawing on resources from philosophy, spirituality and neuroscience, as well as his own engagement with the world of representational art, Pearce both acutely diagnoses the aesthetic bottle-neck of our times and points a way forward to a more aspirational and authentic form of art creation. Though some hackles will be raised by his deft puncturing of postmodern shibboleths, more will cheer. This is a book that is likely to influence and inspire artists for some time to come."
Nathan Tierney PhD, author of Imagination and Ethical Ideals
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