Dr. David Sweatt - Artist's Statement
All our creativity, emotions, perceptions, memories and beliefs arise from the coordinated action of the nerve cells that make up our central nervous system. My paintings deal with contemporary scientific study of nervous system function, a discipline known as neuroscience. The artwork overall concerns behavioral perception, anatomical structures, individual neurons, cellular organelles, enzymes, and finally submolecular space. A unifying theme is the awesome complexity of the nervous system at all these levels. Whether one is analyzing the structures of the individual component molecules or the perceptual processing of the behaving animal, each layer seems as complex as every other. All of my paintings are inspired by the research that is ongoing in my laboratory, which studies mechanisms of memory formation and the molecular basis of memory disorders.
I like to paint real things that no one has ever seen. Each painting is of a real object whose existence has been deduced and confirmed by thought and experimentation. In many cases the object has been proved to exist without ever having been directly observed — its truth of its existence has been arrived at purely through data analysis and not through observation by the human eye. Thus, each object is simultaneously both real and abstract. In painting these works I have tried to draw from both the realistic and abstract schools of painting, in order to reflect the dual nature inherent in each object.