Todd Siler - Mesencephalic Tensional Motion
American, b.1953
Mesencephalic Tensional Motion, 1986-87
Mixed media on spunbonded synthetic canvas, 60 x 141 inches

Gift of Noreen and Jack A. Rounick (BBA ’56)

Born in 1953, Siler attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received a Ph.D. in Psychology and Art. This combination of science and art would continue to characterize his art. Siler created a theory called Artscience, which is a process by which art integrates science and science integrates art in their adventurous acts of creative seeing, discovering, critical thinking, inventing and innovation.

“Mesencephalic Tensional Motion was created by using a retro-relief printing and painting process I invented in the late 1970s, which M.I.T. patented for me. The paint is permeated and impregnated in the spunbounded synthetic canvas, producing a slightly raised or relief surface. This nature-inspired innovation occurred to me when I was shown some Golgi stained slides of human neural tissue, which M.I.T. professor of neuro-anatomy, Dr. Walle Nauta, gave me to examine. I was so captivated by these images, that I wondered how I could re-create them on a large scale, so that I can immerse people in this mysterious neural landscape? Only by enveloping people in this real-life wonderland could I ever hope to engage us to ponder this phenomenal substance that enables every human being to dream, think, create and communicate.”
The title of this painting refers to a specific area in the human brain that neuroscientists correlate with certain action and behaviors involving motivation and habituation. Perhaps, the thing that intrigues me most about the mesencephalon (or midbrain) is that its form and process are similar to the oldest vertebrates and elementary animals."