Archive for April 27th, 2021

9912238 Up and Up small

There are only patterns, patterns on top of patterns, patterns that affect other patterns. Patterns hidden by patterns. Patterns within patterns. If you watch close, history does nothing but repeat itself. What we call chaos is just patterns we haven’t recognized. What we call random is just patterns we can’t decipher. What we can’t understand we call nonsense. What we can’t read we call gibberish.

–Chuck Palahniuk, Survivor

I tend to agree with the snippet above from author Chuck Palahniuk’s novel.

Everything is built upon pattern. Who we are and how we behave. History. Science. Music and art. It is all dictated by patterns.

Most of us don’t dwell too long on identifying patterns in the world around us and some of us will even refuse to acknowledge the predominance of pattern in the world, believing everything is random and chaotic. I suppose that in itself is part of a pattern, a larger one that is so encompassing that we can’t see it from our vantage point within it.

Just speculating there, of course.

I know that I am always looking for pattern, even when I’m not really looking. I call it pattern, rhythm, flow, sense of rightness and other terms, without knowing why I am drawn to this concept. It just attracts me in that it is so much part of everything that there must surely be significance.

This search for pattern often shows up in my work, especially in those with unusual dimensions like the painting shown on the left, titled Up and Up. The width of its picture plane is very restrictive, forcing all the elements within it to be condensed so that it maintains a semblance of coherence for the viewer. For these paintings, it results in patterns all their own. Patterns that often hold the visual appeal of the whole painting.

For example, Up and Up has a pattern that reminds me of ladder rungs, with each new layer in the landscape lifting you higher. I see it both as a landscape and as a pattern, a sort of DNA-like structure or armature on which this world is built.

Whatever it is, it holds my eye and makes me keep searching for something in it.

This post ran several years ago but has been adapted for the piece shown here, Up and Up, which will be part of my upcoming solo show, Between Here and There, opening June 4, at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria, VA.

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