In Dialogue: Art, Drugs, and the Nature of Seeing

November 8, 2015 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Trustee Room, Mark Building


Certain drugs provoke compelling visual distortions and hallucinations, increase the intensity and salience of what you perceive, depress areas of the brain that let you introspect, and experience a personal sense of self, and make the ordinary stand out powerfully as never before. Artists have intuitively manipulated these same systems to communicate emotional states and visual phenomena since first putting pigment on a cave wall. This session will bring together landscape art, hallucination, and the science of perception.

A graduate of OHSU’s Behavioral Neuroscience program, Bill Griesar, PhD, teaches neuroscience at Portland State University and WSU Vancouver. Jeff Leake holds an MA in Fine Arts from UC Davis and a BA in Fine Arts from the San Francisco Art Institute. Bill and Jeff currently coteach an Art and the Brain course at WSU Vancouver and at PSU, providing reference to visual arts and phenomena in relation to neuroscience. They also founded the volunteer art and neuroscience outreach program, NW Noggin, and routinely bring college students and brains to K-12 classrooms in Portland and Vancouver Public Schools.

Learn more about the “In Dialogue with Nature” series.


The Portland Art Museum is pleased to offer accommodations to ensure that our programs are accessible and inclusive. All spaces for this program are accessible by wheelchair. Assistive listening devices are also available for lectures. All restrooms have accessible stalls but no power doors. There are single-stall all-gender bathrooms available. Please ask staff for directions.

We will do our best to accommodate your needs when you arrive, however, we need 2-3 weeks advance notice for some specific requests. Please email requests to, or call 503-226-2811.