"...visually stunning and mentally stimulating."-Scientific American "...the author of What Painting Is (1998) has written a fascinating new book filled with gorgeous illustrations that would inspire us 'to learn to see anything.' It's a tall order, to be sure, but one that the author pulls off admirably...How to Use Your Eyes is a wondrous visual tour that Elkins hopes will help us 'learn to use our eyes more concertedly until the details of the world slowly reveal themselves.' Readers will be inspired to stop and smell--nay, see--the roses." -Booklist "Elkins invites his readers to extend perception beyond narrow specialties to see meaning in the mundane. He is ever curious, his mind seemingly in overdrive." -Chicago Tribune Magazine "In that fascinating zone where creative imagination and scientific observation meet, Elkins shines a conceptual flashlight, aiming to illuminate in 32 short chapters a fraction of what we are missing daily. He asks us to use our eyes and our minds differently, to see the world as few of us bother to see it because we rarely make the effort."-Library Journal Grass, the night sky, a postage stamp, a crack in the sidewalk, a shoulder.
Ordinary objects of everyday life. But when we look at them-really look at them-what do we see? In the tradition of John Berger's bestselling Ways of Seeing, James Elkins's How to Use your Eyes invites us to look at- and maybe see for the first time- the world around us, with breathtaking results. Here are the common artifacts of life, often misunderstood and largely ignored, brought into striking focus. A butterfly's wing pattern encodes its identity. A cloudless sky yields a precise sequence of colors at sunset. A bridge reveals the relationship of a population with its landscape. With the discerning eye of a painter and the zeal of a detective, Elkins also explores complicated things like mandalas, the periodic table, or a hieroglyph, remaking the world into a treasure box of observations-eccentric, ordinary, marvelous. How to Use Your Eyes will transform your view of nature and the mind.
James Elkins is E.C. Chadbourne Chair in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His many books include What Painting Is, Pictures and Tears, Stories of Art, Visual Studies, Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles, On the Strange Place of Religion in Contemporary Art, and Master Narratives and Their Discontents, all published by Routledge.
Preface Things Made By Man 1. how to look at A Postage Stamp 2. how to look at A Culvert 3. how to look at An Oil Painting 4. how to look at Pavement 5. how to look at An X Ray 6. how to look at Linear B 7. how to look at Chinese and Japanese Script 8. how to look at Egyptian Hieroglyphics 9. how to look at Egyptian Scarabs 10. how to look at An Engineering Drawing 11. how to look at a Rebus 12. how to look at Mandalas 13. how to look at Perspective Pictures 14. how to look at An Alchemical Emblem 15. how to look at Special Effects 16. how to look at The Periodic Table 17. how to look at A Map Things Made By Nature 18. how to look at A Shoulder 19. how to look at A Face 20. how to look at A Fingerprint 21. how to look at Grass 22. how to look at A Twig 23. how to look at Sand 24. how to look at Moths' Wings 25. how to look at Halos 26. how to look at Sunsets 27. how to look at Color 28. how to look at The Night 29. how to look at Mirages 30. how to look at A Crystal 31. how to look at The Inside of Your Eye 32. how to look at Nothing Postscript: How Do We Look to a Scallop? For Further Reading Figure Credits
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