The Consilience Project: Nicholas Bragg, Painting, and the ‘Jumping Together’ of Ideas and Experience
Project Leader: Mike Wakeford (Undergraduate Academic Program, UNCSA)
Project Description: This project will introduce students in a core academic core course, Foundations of Western Thought, to easel painting as a medium of expression and conceptual integration, and will culminate with students executing a “visual essay” that treats, through painting, a course assignment usually executed through traditional academic essay form. The project takes its name from the famed entomologist and evolutionary theorist E.O. Wilson’s 2003 book, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. Consilience literally means “a jumping together” and Wilson uses it to refer to the idea that all knowledge, despite the disciplinary divides that we subject it to, is unified and interrelated.
Winston-Salem artist Nicholas Bragg will lead students into two class periods of easel painting experience during the Winter Quarter. In the Spring Quarter, students will be challenged to use painting as an alternative method of responding both analytically and expressively to course materials. For participating faculty and students, the project aims to illuminate, test, and/or reflect upon the idea that what a liberal education aims to cultivate is a capaciousness of mind and an ever-improving ability to forge relationships between what might have once appeared disparate and disconnected things or ideas.
Collaborators: Nicholas Bragg, Painter. Founding Executive Director of Reynolda House Museum of American Art (1969-1999). Member, UNCSA Board of Visitors (emeritus).