Chaos & Order
Much like the chicken and the egg, one wonders which came first - chaos or order? Chaos reacts to order and order reacts to chaos. They balance each other, yet balance is elusive.
But then, what would balance even be, what would it look like, and why does it seem desirable? Is it because balance seems to calm us, much like how fantasy can offer comfort?
It is difficult to know what proportions of chaos and order would be the most comforting or whether or not there could ever be equilibrium, where one doesn't dominate over the other.
In this series of paintings, I was thinking about the role of destruction and how necessary destruction is in order for anything new to exist. Perhaps a sort of destructive harmony is what could define the balance between chaos and order.
There can be beauty in destruction. Without destruction, everything would be stagnant and unchanging. Stagnancy is really worse than death; death is not the opposite of creation, stagnancy is because it means nothing is moving. And maybe because of this somewhere ingrained in our psyche is the desire to destroy - to destroy something old in order to create something new.
Those who cling, who stay attached to things as they are, who fear change and cannot relinquish control, will always be disappointed by life. Happiness is a blank canvas waiting to be destroyed, to be reacted to. Life is a woman being impregnated by a man, a bee pollinating a plant, an animal eating the flesh of another animal, atoms colliding. Clouds move across the sky and waves ripple across the ocean, celestial bodies move through space.
It's interesting when we meditate that we are often trying to find stillness within ourselves, to quiet the mind. When there is too much chaos either internally or externally this seems helpful. But there can also be too much stillness. I don't understand why anyone would want to be in complete control of their reactions. To me it seems to limit the capacity for pleasure, the ability to surprise oneself, and even to adapt and grow. There needs to be wiggle room, something unknown, some kind of ambiguous playing field upon which we can discover and explore and expand. A place where we can invite new elements in and interact with them. Where we welcome some forms of destruction and embrace desire over fear. Where chance has an opportunity to manifest something greater or necessary, where evolution can occur.
I of course am a hypocrite as I desire to to be with a man who makes me feel less vulnerable in the world. A container for my chaos. By myself I've always had the sense that I would bring too much chaos into my environment but being with a man who understands me would ground me. In my mind, a woman on her own is chaos. Whereas man on his own is order, and probably too ordered if left to his own devices. Too much of either would result in an imbalance where the destruction that would follow would not create something beautiful, such as a new life. So perhaps harmony could be judged by the beauty that results from the collision.
Where there is beauty there is balance and vice versa. Though the potential for ugliness is always lurking. Such as life. As Michel de Montaigne once said,
"Our life, like the harmony of the world, is composed of contrast, also of varying tones, sweet and harsh, sharp and flat, soft and loud. If a musician liked one sort only, what effect would he make? He must be able to employ them together and blend them. And we too must accept the good and bad that coexist in our life. Our existence is impossible without this mixture, and one side is no less necessary to us than the other."
I think I am especially attracted to creating a series of paintings around chaos and order right now because it has the effect of generating more creativity within myself. These were the first paintings I launched into after several years of not painting, and with them I overcame stagnancy. It was a way to honor the chaos within myself, when an outlet had previously been repressed.
The white and blue in these paintings represent the interaction of chaos and order while beige represents stagnancy; where I create chaos I react with order and where I create order I react with chaos. Where there is stagnancy I react with chaos and then order. This process allows me to participate in the harmony and blending of both in the pursuit of balance.
Echoes, 72 x 60 inches, oil and acrylic on canvas; watch the making of this painting on YouTube
The line work depicts male and female figures along with their sexual organs, the stomach, and the lungs. The black dot is intended to release tension and promote harmony between the couple.
Download info sheet
Primordial I, II, and III, 24 x 36 (I and II) and 36 x 36 (III), mixed media on canvas, SOLD
Primordial IV and V, 30 x 40 inches each, mixed media on canvas, SOLD