Title: What colour is it? Modal and amodal completion of colour in art, vision science and biology

Authors: Baingio Pinna

Addresses: Facolta di Lingue e Letterature Straniere, Dipartimento di Scienze dei Linguaggi, University of Sassari, via Roma 151, I-07100 Sassari, Italy

Abstract: The aim of this work is to investigate the problem of perceptual organisation of colour through an integrated and multidisciplinary study based on art, vision science and biology. The colour organisation is approached starting from the amodal completion of shape and by introducing the phenomenal notions of modal and amodal completion of colour in the three multidisciplinary domains. Just as a shape is completed amodally behind another occluding shape, so is a colour behind another occluding colour or behind a bright light reflected by a three-dimensional object. The modal completion of colour was studied through the watercolour illusion and a painting by Kandinsky. The amodal completion of colour was investigated through the lighting illusion and the Renaissance chiaroscuro that created the illusion of depth. The phenomenal results showed the effectiveness of the amodal completion of colours used by artists and by nature in biological colouration. Four general principles of the amodal completion of colour, useful to understand the more general problem of phenomenal organisation of colour in art, vision science and biology, are suggested.

Keywords: psychology of art; gestalt principles; perceptual organisation; colour perception; shape perception; amodal completion; filling-in; vision science; biology; phenomenal notions; modal completion; watercolour illusion; Kandinsky painting.

DOI: 10.1504/IJART.2010.032564

International Journal of Arts and Technology, 2010 Vol.3 No.2/3, pp.195 - 220

Published online: 07 Apr 2010 *

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