Poetry in Nature/Refinement of Form

Joanne Artman Gallery
Jul 28, 2017 8:38PM

The elegant spiral of the Nautilus shell, the sinuous pattern of the banks of a river, or the swirling vortex street of clouds - patterns exist on every level in nature. Along with fractals, chaos theory is one of the essential, universal influences on patterns in nature. In essence, the theory shows how systems of chaotic, apparent randomness have an underlying pattern, or repetition.

The work of sculptor Matt Devine echoes the natural world, as the artist creates wonderfully complex works that resonate with both chaos and order. Perhaps this is why we can’t stop looking at Devine’s Brass Tax. Elevated by the use of a metallic finish, the piece is a minimalist refinement of nature, form and sequence.

Matt Devine
Brass Tax
Joanne Artman Gallery

Long before chaos theory, scientists have hypothesized on the apparent beauty of the “irregular” in nature. In the 1841 edition of the American Repertory of Arts, Sciences and Manufactures (Volume 3), James Jay Mapes pens a deftly, eloquently written ode to the irregularities of our world, the stars, the oceans, the mountains and deserts. Mapes describes how our perceptions of beauty are built upon such irregularities - poignant breaks from any visible pattern, that are then captured and described in works of art.  

“…the relative distances of the planets, their magnitudes, and the number of their satellites, conform to no known numerical law. The fixed stars exhibit no regular arrangement, either in their magnitudes, distances, or positions, but appear scattered at random across the sky. To descend to our own earth, no symmetry is traceable in the forms of island or continents, the courses of rivers, or the directions of mountain chains… In the “human face divine,” portrait painters affirm that the two sides never correspond; and even when the external form of an animal exhibits an appearance of bilateral or radiate symmetry, nature departs from it in her arrangement of the internal structure. In short, variety is a great and a most beautiful law of nature: it is that which distinguishes her productions from those of art, and it is that which man often exerts his highest efforts…to imitate.”

In a recent text, Aesthetics of Ugliness: A Critical Edition by Karl Rosenkranz, the author stipulates, that although “free multiplicity” is indeed beautiful, “regularity tires through its stereotypical sameness, which presents to us difference always in the same manner, so that we long to get out of its uniformity and into freedom, even if in extremis it is a chaotic freedom.”

In bothBrass Taxas well asUntitled Suspended, the words of Mapes and Rosenkranz can be seen to find their home, both pieces exhibiting a poetic, chaotic freedom, their beauty centered in their adherence to no prescriptive, formal pattern. The works seem entirely organic despite their true nature.

Matt Devine is represented at JoAnne Artman Gallery  || 326 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach CA 92651
 || 511 A West 22nd St. New York NY 10011

949.510.5481 || www.joanneartmangallery.com || [email protected]

Joanne Artman Gallery