Archive for March 24th, 2022

GC Myers- The Garden Beyond Chaos

The Garden Beyond Chaos

“Disorder is inherent in stability. Civilized man doesn’t understand stability. He’s confused it with rigidity. Our political and economic and social leaders drool about stability constantly. It’s their favorite word, next to ‘power.’

‘Gotta stabilize the political situation in Southeast Asia, gotta stabilize oil production and consumption, gotta stabilize student opposition to the government’ and so forth.

Stabilization to them means order, uniformity, control. And that’s a half-witted and potentially genocidal misconception. No matter how thoroughly they control a system, disorder invariably leaks into it. Then the managers panic, rush to plug the leak and endeavor to tighten the controls. Therefore, totalitarianism grows in viciousness and scope. And the blind pity is, rigidity isn’t the same as stability at all.

True stability results when presumed order and presumed disorder are balanced. A truly stable system expects the unexpected, is prepared to be disrupted, waits to be transformed.”

Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

The new painting shown above is on my easel this morning, a piece that will be part of my June show at the Principle Gallery in Alexandria. It felt done at the end of yesterday’s session but this quick photo shows me a couple of small spots that need to be addressed this morning. Nothing big, nothing most folks would notice. Just a few little touches here and there.

There was a lot of energy in the painting of this piece. By that, I mean it moved quickly with little breaks in the process for me to ponder and make decisions. It felt like it was self-propelling.

That’s always a great feeling for me. Not just for the act of painting of the particular piece involved but because it usually translates to more energy in my work in the days ahead. Again, self-propelling.

Maybe the fact that this piece felt self-propelling gave me time to think about what meaning or symbolism it held for me. The paint strokes that make up the sky have a chaotic  energy that contrasts greatly with the order of the gardens of the foreground.

Chaos and order.

It’s this tension– and balance– between the two forces that make this piece work for me.

This is probably true for much of my work. And my life. And the rest of the world.

We need to have that balance of chaos and order. Chaos is the mother of creation and change in this world. Order makes sense of it, putting it in a stable, livable form.

The problems in our world and in ourselves come when we lose that balance between chaos and order and skew too far in either direction.

The excerpt above from Tom Robbins sums this up perfectly and much of what is taking place in the world serve as fine examples. An excess of chaos, either real or created, results in an overcompensation toward a more rigid form of order in the name of stability.

And as Robbins writes, rigidity isn’t the same as stability at all.

Finding that balance is the trick. We need both order and chaos. Maybe the purpose of art is to remind of this, to make us more tolerant of a little chaos and more wary of too much order.

It might just be me but I see this balance, this harmony, between the two forces, in this piece. And that’s all I can ask of it.

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