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Order and disorder in art
How to think laterally
by Phil Brush

The importance of experimentation
We don't paint things we construct visusl relationships.

We now approach a topic of relationships, which, in art, I have some knowledge but obviously in life I have little (thrice divorced). Every element in a painting can only be considered in its relationship with the other parts.

I view it like this:
Let us imagine our life as a room and the room has a partition. On one side of the partition is a continually moving, changing world of disorder or chaos. It is populated by all the creatures of the imagination, and more than a few not invited. It is a world of the surreal, of dreams and nightmares, of anti-logic and senselessness. On the other side of our partition we have order, logic and regular forms. The world of the pyramids, spheres and cubes, the world of habit, pattern and order.

Some people are not comfortable until the partition is forced to one end of the room (90% order 10% chaos). Others can live in a 50/50 situation, and yet others rejoice in the high chaos count. Some people believe it is a factor of age, gender, right or left brain, or early potty-training. Some refer to it as the Jeckle and Hyde syndrome while others mistake it as a threat.

I believe we must live with both sides of our existence and recognize the importance of each. We need chaos to think laterally to be inventive; to associate disparate ideas and concepts. Controlled chaos is the life blood of the creative idea though this is not to underestimate the value of pattern, order and habit that are the very tools that allow meaning to be drawn from disorder; the foundation blocks of moral and civilized thought.

Most classical painting tuition usually concerns itself with the rules and order side of the room in an attempt to define and sympolize the chaos about us. For some this may have moved the partition back a little. Never mind, just think of what you have learnt as a small toolbox with which the painter can use to assemble and understand whatever the imagination demands. Chaos is not a bag of dirty washing, it is rather a wardrobe of exotic costumes to be worn and perhaps cast aside.

Experiments of color, design, form and texture are the basis of most of the art movements in the last 150 years. Whether they be abstract expressionism, impressionism, surrealism or post-modernism they are all attempts at dissembling and re-assembling, of moving into chaos to discover some new meaning. We should all similarly experiment, especially when we find order stifling creativity.

Beware only of any system or movement that would institutionalize art

Phil Brush is a regular with BLINDEYE whose painting improves when he is permitted to handle sharp instruments.