Cloud Errors is being shown at WEP Central, 3 Bartlett Avenue in Toronto, from October 11 to October 28, 2023.
Or contact me to make an appointment.
Human beings are pattern-making animals precisely because we are pattern-seeking animals. Our inherent desire to recognize and synthesize patterns is the basis of all our culture. We recognize patterns in audible frequencies as music. We recognize patterns in visual frequencies as art and design. We recognize patterns in written and spoken language as poetry and story-telling, as incantation and myth-making.
But there’s a catch. Not only do humans instinctively seek and make patterns, but we also grow bored with them. In the presence of too much repetition, with too much regularity, we extrapolate too readily an unvaried, infinite whole—an endless field of identical green dots, for example—and, sensing no further surprise or additional information is forthcoming, we lose interest. That’s why it is necessary, from time to time, to interrupt the repetition, to subvert the pattern, to inject the unexpected, and balance orderly arrangements of forms with agents of chaos, either strategically chosen or random and serendipitous, allowing for an element of surprise now and then.
Nature is inherently chaotic. The challenge of the landscape painting or photograph is one of framing and composition. Framing is an imposition of order. Traditionally, this was accomplished with the edge of the canvas, or the crop of the photograph. Increasingly, however, our world is framed by digital technology.
My recent paintings are concerned with how nature, or our capacity to perceive nature, is increasingly mediated by technology. Clouds are essentially organic and constantly evolving forms. In Cloud Errors, the naturally amorphous and chaotic shapes of clouds are interrupted by “unrepeating patterns” of pixelations that represent digital display errors. My selection of square canvases might be a vestige of seeing the world through Instagram. The combination of these choices might appear to be accidentally beautiful, but the glitching pixelations are emblematic of our growing disconnect with the natural world.
I am further interested in the “repetition” of these pixelations as a kind of asemic writing. It’s important that the arrangement of these pixelations appears irregular but purposeful, like the words you are reading now. This way, they may appear to have their own grammar, their own purposefulness, in their arrangement, but this is the result solely of our pattern-seeking minds. In these paintings, I am more interested in deploying the semblance of syntax, the appearance of meaning, than with any actual syntax or meaning. The appearance of patterns here is the result of our inborn desire to experience them, to perceive order in the chaos, to perceive meaning in the disarray—in fact, to impose it—to remake the world with our minds.