OPT – Exhibition! takes place on the evening of February 9th with a stylish reception in the Mercato Marketplace. A groundbreaking show, OPT – Exhibition! will feature important new work by Todd Andrew Babb, Greg Biolchini, Veron Ennis, Hollis Jeffcoat, and Arturo Samaniego, five socially-responsible artists who are spearheading the OPT Art movement in Southwest Florida.
OPT stands for Open Positive Transference, a term signifying the belief that the emotions an artist experiences during the creative process are conveyed consciously and subliminally to viewers, thereby impacting their physical, psychological and mental well-being, whether for better or worse. Thus, OPT artists exercise great pains to ensure they only convey positive feelings in and through their art, scrupulously avoiding negative, dystopian or shock art lest it “create a dystopian and shocking society.”
But is there empirical evidence to support their belief that the emotions they experienced while creating a work are transferred, intentionally or unintentionally, to the people who view it? More and more scientific studies are being launched to test that very hypothesis.
For example, a study conducted in 2011 for The Center for Health Design by Dr. Upali Nanda, Vice President and Director of Research American Art Resources, established through systematic behavioral observation that providing positive aesthetic images and artworks in a hospital waiting room reduces restlessness (which can be an indicator of patient anxiety and stress), reduces people watching (which has implications for privacy), and increases socialization (which could improve social support).
“We can, therefore, conclude that a simple visual intervention, like still and video art, can improve the patient waiting experience in [hospital waiting rooms].”
Many physicians are adapting this template their own bustling waiting rooms, where art is being employed with increasing frequency to create “healing environments.” Patients are happier and also healthier relaxing in a comfortable modern sitting area imbued with the ambiance of a home. Their blood pressure is measurably lower due to decreased anxiety levels. They are more alert and receptive to their doctor’s recommendations. And they have more confidence in those recommendations as a result of being greeted in a work space filled with beautiful, inspirational works of art.
But while the scientific community gathers empirical evidence from which to measure the conscious and subconscious impact of works of art on viewers, OPT artists and collectors are already re-evaluating the emotional message embedded within the colors, brushstrokes, media and overall composition of the works they produce and hang in their homes and offices. Underlying this inquiry is the growing realization that just like the earth grows what is sowed, so our brains also grow the thoughts (the ‘thinking seeds’) we entertain.
These ‘thinking seeds’ ultimately determine who we become, how we deal with issues, how we solve problems and how we present ourselves to others. The brain/mind doesn’t care whether these thinking seeds are positive or negative. It will grow whatever’s planted. However, if you plant negative seeds in your brain, pretty soon your entire thought process will be negative and critical, and you become a person who sees only the negative side of everything. As a result, your productivity in all areas of your life will become only a fraction of what it could be. Conversely, positive thoughts will have the opposite effect. They will enable us to be more connected to our natural genius, spot new opportunities, increase productivity and dramatically improve our prospects for success.
The relationship between thoughts, emotional state, mental health and physical well-being has been noted by philosophers from Socrates to Buddha and from Ralph Waldo Emerson to Earl Nightingale and Brian Tracy. The latter has stated in his book Maximum Achievement that “your subconscious mind is an unquestioning servant that works day and night to make your behavior fit a pattern consistent with your emotionalized thoughts, hopes, and desires. Your subconscious mind grows either flowers or weeds in the garden of your life, whichever you plant by the mental equivalents you create.”
Like Kandinsky, Tracy believes there exist immutable cosmic laws, such as the Law of Concentration, which states that whatever you dwell upon, grows. “The more you think about something, the more it becomes part of your reality.”
Given all of this, Veron Ennis and the OPT 5 artists posit in their paintings the rule of Positive Transference, and it compels them to closely monitor and strictly control the thoughts, feelings and emotions they convey in the paintings they produce so that they will have the best possible effect on the psychological state and physical well-being of her collectors.
See what the buzz is about for yourself. OPT Exhibition! takes place at the Mercato from 6-9 p.m. on February 9 for a one-night-only show. For more information on OPT – Exhibition!, please contact Veron Ennis at email@example.com or by telephone at 239-849-7772, or visit the event website at http://www.facebook.com/events/373691516051561/?fref=ts.