Science is now enabling us to fully define the functions of pictorial cognition. And those defined functions enable us to understand that Rego's paintings have nothing to do with pictorial cognition. And actually, all the science is doing is confirming what many people have understood for quite some time. And which is that fact that "modern" art, and/or abstract non-representational art, is/was nothing more than a great big scam.
Is it right to reduce art to the science of visual perception and little more?
Or maybe I should say, can be so much more because clearly I'm on the pure rationalist side of art interpretation. That's fine, but can we risk missing all the other things that people see, all the other reasons they might have for reacting to a work, the cultural connections, the composition, the colour, the way a piece might relate to the space around it, the narrative etc.?
Do people only "understand" very figurative art that connects directly to their own personal experience? I would say that's extremely limited and fails to explain all the people who enjoy modern art, for example. Is there is role for, say, imagination in the execution or reading of art? That there is no role for fantasy. But ok.
If you're into Art and Painting in particular, read on.