About UAlberta's Augustana Campus

Faculty Talks

Monday, November 21, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m., The Dr. Roger Epp Conference Room

Keith Harder: Paint it Black

This talk will discuss the genesis, process, and implications of a series of 4 paintings titled “ILL Winds” that deal with images of storms. These paintings use colour in a unique way to create a depth of darkness, and by extension an expression of threat and peril, as well as a sense of whelming awe. I will use one of the paintings “ILL Winds: East” as a case study in the development of this work.


Ian Blokland: Primary Colours—Three Scientific Abstractions

Human vision is characterized by three primary colours. This talk will gently explore three settings in which colour is used in modern science: the various ways that complex colours can be represented mathematically, the number of ways in which a Rubik’s Cube can be scrambled and solved, and the unusual interactions of subnuclear particles.


Monday, January 23, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m., The Dr. Roger Epp Conference Room

Tomislav Terzin: The Provocative Art of Body Painting

Most animal species feature a coloured body surface. Colour patterns are often complex and have various biological functions. In this presentation, I am going to focus on pigment-based colours in living nature. The question will emerge: can we observe distinct styles in the way living things are painted?


That is just the first question in a line of questioning that may take us out of the comfort zone of mainstream biology into the land of interdisciplinary, critical thinking about natural colours and patterns.


Tim Parker: Processing Colour—Why the Grass Stays Green as the Sun Goes down

Conventional colour perception theory claims that the light waves being reflected from an object reach the retina and then the brain, where colour interpretation and recognition occur. However, this conventional approach cannot account for some crucial colour perception phenomena, including the effect known as colour constancy, where we perceive an object’s colour to be the same across a wide range of ambient lighting.

This talk will review some fascinating research that reveals that colour perception involves a sophisticated process in which the visual cortex and the regions to which it projects actually calculate the colour of an object based on the properties of all the objects in the scene. The foundational research that revealed this process was performed by Edwin Land, the inventor of the Polaroid Land camera. The talk will center on video segments from an episode, called “Colourful Notions”, of the British documentary series Horizon. This features actual footage of the experiment Land and his colleagues performed. Attendees will be unlikely to take their colour processing system for granted after seeing how our brains perform this marvel.


Monday, February 27, 12:30 - 2:00 p.m., The Dr. Roger Epp Conference Room

Andrea Korda: From Black-and-White to Colour: Changing Ways of Seeing in Art and Visual Culture

New methods for reproducing colour transformed art and visual culture over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. This presentation highlights significant moments in this history, from the development of new methods of colour printing to the introduction of Technicolor in feature films, and explores the relationship between an increasingly colourful visual culture and the work of modern artists, who were experimenting with colour in novel ways during this time.


Gerhard Lotz: From Atoms to the Universe—Colour Perspectives

Colour elucidates the nature of the physical world from some of the smallest structures to the largest. Much of what we know about both the submicroscopic and extraterrestrial realms comes from emanated light. The colour details of that light are the key to unravelling fascinating workings at vastly different size scales.