email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
1000 Families2 ¼32 Stories365 Days51 Months5x7A Child's Life and Other StoriesA Couple of Ways of Doing SomethingA Lifetime of SecretsA Storybook LifeA Treasury of Victorian MurderActing OutAddiction and ArtAEIOUAfter PhotographyAliveAlive with Alzheimer'sAlone Together POCAltered StatesAmazing WomenAmelia's WorldAmerica at HomeAmerican AlphabetsAmnesiaAn American LensAn Exact MindAngel's WorldAngry Youth Comix #2Anjos ProibidosAnthony GoicoleaArchitecture of AuthorityArt After Conceptual ArtArt and HomosexualityArt and PhotographyArt in Three DimensionsArt Photography NowArt, Self and KnowledgeArt/PornAs We AreAsylumAttitudeAutoportraitBecoming Edvard MunchBeg the QuestionBelugaBerkoBig Rabbit's Bad MoodBill HensonBlab!Blab! 13BLAB! Vol. 14BLAB! Vol. 15BlanketsBoneyardBoneyardBoy StoriesBreakdownsBright EarthBrüselBurn, Bitchy, BurnBus OdysseyBut Is It Art?CanvasCaricatureChildrenChris VereneChristy ReportCinema PanopticumClass PicturesClick DoubleclickCloserClumsyClyde Fans CoincidencesComing of AgeComing of Age in Ancient GreeceConceptual Art and PaintingConfessions of a Cereal EaterConsider LoveCouch FictionCrumpleCzech EdenCzech Photographic Avant-Garde, 1918-1948Dan & LarryDargerDays With My FatherDead EndDear MomDeus Ex MachinaDigital DiariesDirty StoriesDisasters of WarDixie RoadDomestic VacationsDon't Go Where I Can't FollowDon't You Feel BetterDr. Jekyll & Mr. HydeDrawingsDriftlessEarly ExposuresEcstasyEdouard VuillardEnduring CreationEngland, My EnglandEntering GermanyEpilepticErwin OlafEscape from "Special"EVAEverything Will DisappearEvidenceExploring the Self through PhotographyExposureExpressionism Exquisite CorpseFamilyFamilyFamily LifeFandomaniaFaster than a Speeding BulletFictionsFigure and GroundFragile DVDFred the ClownFreud at WorkFridaFrom Girls to GrrlzFun HomeGeneration DadaGirl CultureGirls, Some Boys and Other CookiesGoing Into TownGood-ByeGraphic WomenGrave MattersGreat Hiking Trails of the WorldH R GigerHans BellmerHappy Halloween, Li'L SantaHauntedHere Is New YorkHey, Wait...High Art LiteHollywood CowboyHouse of JavaI Am Not This BodyI Love You But I've Chosen RockI Thought I Could FlyI'll Be Your MirrorI'm CrazyIllumineIn My Darkest HourIn Search Of DignityIn the Floyd ArchivesIn the Line of DutyInformation ArtsIntenseInvisible No MoreIt Was A Dark And Silly NightJack Cole and Plastic ManJimmy CorriganJock SturgesJock SturgesJust Between UsKafkaKatharina SieverdingLacan at the SceneLaura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your MonsterLife's a BitchLight in the Dark RoomLine of Beauty and GraceListening to CementLittle LitLi’l SantaLoadsLooking For MayaLost GirlLouis FaurerLouise BourgeoisLove and DesireLove Lust DesireLuckyManufactured LandscapesMass ObservationMaster BreastsMetacreationMisty DawnMnemosyneMomeMona KuhnMy Brain is Hanging Upside DownMy DepressionMy Family AlbumNatural BeautiesNatural BeautyNerveNerveNew and Used BLAB!New York September 11Night FisherNightswimmingNo More ShavesNot My ShameNotes from a DefeatistNothing ObviousNothing to HideNudes and PortraitsOliviaOlivia Saves the CircusOn City StreetsOne EyeOnly a Promise of HappinessOptic NerveOptic Nerve #11Optic Nerve #9Outlaws, Rebels, Freethinkers & PiratesOutsider ArtOutsider Art and Art TherapyPanic at Toad HallPatrolPaul M. SmithPeculiaPeekPeople Love PhotosPerfect ExamplePersepolisPhilosophersPhonesexPhoto ArtPhoto Icons I (1827-1926)Photographers, Writers, and the American ScenePhotography and LiteraturePhotography and PhilosophyPhotography and SciencePhotography and the USA Photography RebornPicturing DisabilityPlaytimePOPismPortraits of ResiliencePostmodernismPsychedelicQuestions without answersRaptors Raw YouthRay's a LaughRazmatazReclining NudeRed SnowRemembering GeorgyRequisite DistanceRineke DijkstraRippleRobert Doisneau 1912-1994Robert MaxwellRoom to PlayRXSame Difference & Other StoriesSanctumSatan's Sex BookSatellitesSchizophreniaSee Me Feel MeSelf-Taught and Outsider ArtSexSexual ArtSexyBookShadow ChamberSidewalk StoriesSkin DeepSleepwalkSmall FavorsSmile of the BuddhaSpectral EvidenceSpentSshhhh!Stranded in CantonStrange Stories for Strange Kids Stranger PassingStripped BareSummer BlondeSurrealismSymbols in ArtTestimonyThe Aesthetics of DisengagementThe AlcoholicThe Art InstinctThe Art of Adolf WolfliThe Art of MedicineThe BabiesThe Birthday RiotsThe Blue Day BookThe Blue NotebookThe BodyThe Body as ProtestThe Boulevard of Broken DreamsThe Breast BookThe Breathing FieldThe Bristol Board JungleThe Clouds AboveThe Devil and Daniel JohnstonThe Diary of a Teenage GirlThe Education of SophieThe Erotic Lives of WomenThe Face in the LensThe Illustrated Story of OThe Incantations of Daniel JohnstonThe Madonna of the FutureThe Mirror of LoveThe New Erotic PhotographyThe New LifeThe Other PlaceThe PervertThe Philosophy of Andy WarholThe Places We LiveThe Psychology of Art and the Evolution of the Conscious BrainThe Push Man and Other StoriesThe Scar of VisibilityThe September 11 Photo ProjectThe Shiniest JewelThe Speed AbaterThe Steerage and Alfred StieglitzThe Story of Frog Belly Rat BoneThe Story of SexThe Stuff of LifeThe Three ParadoxesThe Transformations of GwenThe Transformations of GwenThe Transparent CityThe TravelersThe ValleyThe Van Gogh BluesThe Wolves in the WallsThe Yellow HouseThinThings as They AreThinking of YouTierney GearonTime and SilenceTina's MouthTits, Ass, and Real EstateTransitionTrauma and Documentary Photography of the FSATravelersTropical BlendTwentieth Century EightballTwilightUnlikelyVagina WarriorsVernacular VisionariesVietnam At PeaceVisual CultureVitamin PhWar Is Only Half the StoryWhat Are You Looking At?What Art IsWhat Good Are the Arts?What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally MannWho Am I, What Am I, Where Am I?Why Comics?William KentridgeWillie DohertyWithWriters on ArtistsYoung PhotographerZip Zip My Brain Harts
Peter Myers' drawings and other
pictures would be striking and engaging even if one knew nothing about him. The
fact that he has Asperger Syndrome adds to the interest of his work, and in
this book psychologists offer some speculation as to how his artistic style is
affected by the mental characteristics associated with his condition.
Nevertheless, not everyone with Asperger's is a talented artist, and it's
important to recognize that Myers' abilities may be in some ways enhanced by
the capacities that come with Asperger's, but his talent is unique to him.
An Exact Mind is one of the
best books about the work of an artist with a psychological disorder that I
have seen. It is divided into three parts, all of which are amply illustrated
with Myers' work. The first, "About Peter," gives some of the
details of his life and his interest in art, and contains black and white
reproductions of his pictures, most of them done in felt tip. It seems that
the originals were done with black ink on white paper, so the reproductions are
able to give a good idea what they look like. The section part is a collection
of color plates with some comments added by Myers. The third part is a
discussion by the psychologists Simon Baron-Cohen and Sally Wheelwright about
the light Myers' work sheds on theories of autism and Asperger's, and is
illustrated by more black and white pictures and details from his art. It's a
beautifully produced paperback, and the pictures are extremely strong and
beautiful. It is work I'd be very pleased to have adorning my own home.
Myers' work is highly geometrical
and based on patterns of lines. As with so many artists who have been
diagnosed with mental disorders, his art fills the frame, especially in the
pictures where patterns dominate. The drawing is full of energy and the images
are very attractive. They pull in the viewer, and maybe especially for people
with slightly obsessional natures, they invite very close scrutiny. One of my
favorite pictures is "Mosaic Circles -- Mk-II (Blue 4 U)", which is
27.7 x 29.1 cm, done in felt tip pen and metallic ink, dated 3.48pm, 8
September, 2000, York. It is composed entirely of blue dots of different
shades of blue, arranges into circular patterns. Presumably it would be
possible to create a picture such as this with a computer program, but this is
done by hand, with the slight imperfections that go with a human creator. When
one considers how much time, patience and planning it must have taken to create
this image, one is amazed.
The incredible attention to detail
and careful execution of these pictures are massively impressive. These skills
are put to good work with Myers' powerful sense of composition: the small
patterns create larger patterns and make the whole work very pleasing to the
eye. Some of the pictures have thematic content. For example,
"Untitled" from 7.05pm, 18 October, 2001, Houston, Texas includes
pictures of dolphins, storks, alligators, suitcases, cacti and a bright sun,
and Myers' text explains that these are things he experienced on a trip to Mexico.
One of the most fascinating images is "Untitled" from 1979, Darlington,
which shows a blank human figure colored green attached to a robot of some
kind, and other machines and figures are scattered through the picture. Most
of the space is drawn in black lines, but some parts are colored in with bold
hues. Myers writes that "It is a machine, an automaton, with no control
over its own existence. What 'this world' seemed to expect, demand of me, was
quite literally killing me. My very soul, being, essence of self seemed
stifled and life itself was ebbing out of me." The psychologists add that
the picture was created when Myers was depressed and that the picture was a
form of self-therapy, which was successful.
An Exact Mind will be of
special interest to anyone enthusiastic about art brut, especially
because there has been relatively little attention paid previously to work by
people with Asperger's. It is fascinating to see the resemblances between
Myers' art and that of some other outsider artists diagnosed with different
conditions. The book will also appeal to the many people who have a friend or
relative with Asperger's, partly because it sheds some light on the subjective
experience of living with the condition. Highly recommended.
© 2004 Christian Perring.
All rights reserved.
Ph.D., is Academic Chair of the Arts & Humanities Division and Chair of the
Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island. He is also editor of Metapsychology Online Review.
His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and