In August of last summer I was asked by the owners of The Rook, a superb American craft restaurant in Ithaca's West End, to put together a show to hang from First Friday Gallery Night of November through January of 2017. As their aesthetic gravitates toward organic, nature-themed content, I decided to pick up on a series I had begun to explore a few years back: The Chaos Theory.
Since I first learned about it in grade school, the Chaos Theory has fascinated me through it's application in both macro and micro examinations of complex systems and organic life. Put simply, the theory posits that "within the apparent randomness of chaotic complex systems, there are underlying patterns, constant feedback loops, repetition, self-similarity, fractals, and self-organization" (Boeing, 2015). My original series from 2014 examining the Chaos Theory sought to extract and overlay intricate patterns within & throughout animal subjects; the pattern and order was represented through finely detailed pen & ink, juxtaposed atop the seeming chaos of vibrant color and loose acrylics. Most of the pieces from that collection explored the patterns that appear on a micro level, within the fur, feathers, and anatomy of animal subjects, but one piece zoomed out to extract order from the seemingly ultimate chaos of a starling murmuration.
Anyone who has witnessed or is at all familiar with the gorgeous spectacle of a starling murmuration will appreciate the overwhelming sensation of ordered chaos that emanates from the thousands of animal bodies moving as one amoebic mass in the sky. The dark ink blots of individual bodies dip, dive, and writhe together in what should be (and in moments, appears to be) a tumultuous pandemonium; yet somehow the congregation of these tiny beating hearts always rights itself as the starlings perform a contiguous ballet of simultaneous order and chaos.
Thus, for my ornithologically focused show at The Rook, I decided to expand upon my original series examining the Chaos Theory as it manifests on a micro level in bird anatomy & plumage, and in a macro spectacle through murmurations. I again utilized fine pen & ink (and in the case of the murmuration pieces, large-scale stippling) to represent pattern and fractal organization in juxtaposition with the loose color of organic life.