Friday, March 29, 2013

ESSEX: Michael Strauss presentation at Essex Art League

Editor's Note: I have not yet seen or read the book but advance reviews sound intriguing. More details on Michael Strauss' Web site. - Meg Brazill, editor.

Michael Strauss will be giving presentations about his new book, "The Mind at Hand: What Drawing Reveals / Stories of Exploration, Discover, and Design" (Brown Walker Press, January 1, 2013) at the Essex Art League on May 2, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.; at Burlington High School later in the summer; and at UVM in the Fall. Stay tuned.

Advance Reviews
   As even a casual reader of The Mind at Hand will quickly discover, Michael Strauss possesses that rare combination of variegated talents that make him a contemporary version of the Renaissance Man.  Strauss ranges deftly between both hemispheres of the brain--from the analytical to the imaginative, from the sciences to the arts--with an appreciation for each that is infectious.  He is equally at home exploring theories of cognition and discovery as he is explaining the process of creation and re-creation in a century-old painting.  - Tony Magistrale, Professor and Chair, English Department, University of Vermont
Michael Strauss argues that scientific and artistic endeavors are integral to each other. In The Mind at Hand he provides many examples and sources, blending genres by immersing himself in both science and drawing, personally demonstrating the social construction of disciplines.  In this new book he helps yet more of us expand our horizons through first-person vignettes, stories and testimonies that embark into qualitative inquiry, an elaboration of the work of people who use drawing as an integral part of thinking and learning. - Corrine Glesne, Author of Becoming Qualitative Researchers, 2011 (4th ed.)
You may think of drawing as a form of creating or re-creating, but Michael Strauss shows how drawing can be a powerful form of learning. Through a host of compelling examples--from his own life, from classrooms at all age levels and in many disciplines, and from the work of famous artists and scientists--this book demonstrates how drawing and revising drawings can benefit teachers and learners, inventors and researchers--virtually all of us. It's a fascinating read! - Glenda L. Bissex, Ed.D., Educator and author
The Mind at Hand offers a uniquely functional perspective on that most basic aspect of the visual creative process, drawing.  Much in the spirit of Focillon's The Life of Forms in Art, but offering examples from all aspects of life, Michael Strauss explores the territory of creative revision – the development of an initial idea through to its conclusion – with an infectious enthusiasm for the creative process as a powerful tool that we all can share. - Tad Spurgeon, Artist and Author of "Living Craft A Painter’s Process," 2012 (3rd ed.)
There aren’t many research scientists like Michael Strauss, an accomplished artist who writes well about the relationship between art and science.  His latest book, The Mind at Hand, is in part, autobiography -- about an interesting life lived in two different worlds.  The non-artist reader can learn about drawing and painting, and the non-scientist might come to understand the physical world a little better.- Willem R. Leenstra, chemistry professor and former chair of the chemistry department at The University of Vermont

Contact the Essex Art League for details of the presentation on May 2:
For a review and summary of the book:

About The Author

Michael Strauss was a professor of chemistry at the University of Vermont (UVM) from 1968 to 2003. His academic life focused on teaching chemistry and on research in physical-organic and medicinal chemistry. Since 2003 he has been teaching drawing for the Honors College, the College of Arts and Sciences, and Continuing Education at UVM. He has also been involved with outreach efforts in grade schools and high schools around Vermont, focused on science education. In all of his classes, both art and science, the iterative process of learning how to see, draw, and revise was paramount. There was considerable overlap between his university teaching and his outreach efforts in community schools. He had, along with colleagues in the College of Education at UVM, a National Science Foundation grant from the Teacher Enhancement Program to help train teachers in both active learning pedagogy, and content in chemistry, physics and geology. And for about a decade, he was also heavily involved with the Writing-to-Learn and Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) movements, traveling around the country giving workshops and meeting with educators in both elementary schools and colleges to talk about science education.

Strauss realized that part of the pedagogy of Writing-to-Learn elaborated in those workshops was happening in both his elementary school science workshops, and university science classes. The realization was simple enough. The term "writing," when considered "writ large," could encompass any kind of mark making: mathematical and chemical symbols, musical notation - drawings of any kind. The learning part of Writing-to-Learn was happening as part of a very important feedback loop of creation, observation, and revision. This process can be done with texts in order to learn how to write better, but also with marks, images, and symbols of any kind, to learn their meaning and relationships better, and to solve problems.