“…….the function of Art is to imitate nature IN HER MANNER OF OPERATION
(John Cage, “Silence”).

The composition is in flux. For a chance allotted period of time that could be days, weeks or even years the daily repetition of simple actions creates change and complexity. A new colour evolves, new focal points appear and disappear. Then, after this period of continual change the process stops. The “finished” piece finally takes on its new role as “object”. It contains a record of the activity on the surface up to the moment where it is frozen. Like a snapshot of a detail of a moment in the process that formed it. A “fossil” record of past activity and more; it contains also the potential energy of ALL the possibilities present in the systems that were used.

For instance; A system with 64 possibilities, e.g. the I-Ching, allows 4096 (64×64) points on the surface where an event, a symbol, a mark, a sign or any activity COULD occur. The chance selection of a number of them immediately sets up a tension between those points selected and those not. This is the underlying principle in the making of a composition. It is this tension that gives the work its dynamic. It is effectively a tension between the kinetic energy of that which is there and the potential energy of that which is not. The only real difference being the use of chance procedures to make all the decisions, thereby eliminating personal taste or preference.

The same principles are applied to every element in the procedure, colour sequence, ground, methods of application etc so that the “result” reflects the same tensions (inclusion/omission) on many different levels. It is the combination of ALL of these elements at ALL levels that endow the “object” with its life, its character, its gestalt. When the process is then opened out to include the environment in which the work is shown, the layers of activity become denser, the space can be used as a collection of canvases on which the work takes on the identity of marks, events, symbols, it is given a context which is an extension (Macrocosm) of its Microcosm to which is added yet another dynamic layer, the light.

The combination and layering of these many facets of the process generate an extremely rich visual and psychological field in which the “object” stands alone, separated from the “Artist”, in a situation which allows the viewer to build up a dialogue which is free from the expectations of the Artist (for understanding etc). By the application of the same system/method to many different disciplines : Painting, Sculpture, Music, Light, Installation, Movement, Performance etc, it is possible to create an environment in which all of these disciplines can co-exist as equal partners, being linked on many levels by the fact that they are generated from the same source material. Further, they combine to form a situation which is an open field that the viewer/visitor can use according to his/her needs, ( as a projection field, a meditation field, or simply an environment in which to rest and regenerate ).

“Those studying CHAOTIC DYNAMICS DISCOVERED that the disorderly behaviour
of simple systems acted as a CREATIVE PROCESS. It generated COMPLEXITY: richly
organised patterns, sometimes stable, sometimes unstable; sometimes finite, some-

(James Gleich. CHAOS – Making a new Science).

© 1995. Anthony Mawson.

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