Archive for July 8th, 2022

Chaos & Light

Chaos & Light— Show Opens July 22 at the West End Gallery

It partook … of eternity … there is a coherence in things, a stability; something, she meant, is immune from change, and shines out (she glanced at the window with its ripple of reflected lights) in the face of the flowing, the fleeting, the spectral, like a ruby; so that again tonight she had the feeling she had had once today, already, of peace, of rest. Of such moments, she thought, the thing is made that endures.

― Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse

My yearly exhibit at the West End Gallery opens two weeks from today, Friday, July 22. I am calling this year’s show Chaos & Light. The painting above, a 16″ by 40″ piece on canvas, carries that same title.

Chaos has been a theme in my work in recent times, showing itself in the random slashing brushstrokes that make up the skies in many of my works. It is above and around us all the time and we try to find some sense of order, some means of tolerating it, in our lives beneath it.

This theme of chaos is most likely a result of my perception of the times in which we live. I say perception because maybe chaos as a state of being is based more on one’s tolerance and resistance to it. Maybe chaos is the natural state, and we have internal mechanisms that keep it at bay, that keep it barricaded away, unseen, from that part of us that allows us to live and even thrive in some orderly fashion in this world.

The broken irregular rhythms of chaos go unheard and unseen and we live our lives, simply and naturally.

Perhaps sometimes chaos, like a virus, gets past those internal barricades. Chaos becomes apparent, visible and heard. Its rhythms disrupt, infect, our own. Life then becomes more and more filled with chaos. Finding order and simplicity becomes more and more difficult.

Maybe that is the purpose of art, to serve both as a vaccine and a curative to hold chaos outside our selves.

I don’t know.

I know that it makes some small degree of sense to me. I sometimes feel like chaos has infected me, that it runs rampant through my system and my own rhythms have been replaced by those that seem unnatural to me.

But then a dose of art, simple paint on a surface or the sound of a simple tune or the arrangement of words in a book or even the image of light breaking over the horizon in the morning, restores me for at least a short time.

I am sure this sounds crazy to some. That’s okay. They most likely have kept chaos away their whole lives and can’t even begin to understand the plight of those infected by chaos.

This holding off of chaos is what I see in this painting. In many of my paintings, actually. I can’t say that it works as art, that’s not for me to say. But as a soothing balm, it serves the purpose.

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