Edge of Chaos

Dylan Johnson - Contact

Title: Edge of Chaos
Medium: Metalsmithing
Year: 2013
Dimensions: 13.5”L x 10.5”W x 7.5”H
Price: $1594.00

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Artist Statement:

Edge of Chaos is a small scale sculptural jewelry art piece representing a theme of order and chaos. The installation is composed of thirteen white bronze rings mounted on a base of raised and hammered nickel silver, with a Herkimer diamond as a focal point. Using a unique hot wax and water technique I created rings with repeated patterns of what I characterize as spines and tentacles. Each ring was sculpted in this manner and then cast using a “lost wax” process. The work is utterly divorced of any conventional preciousness and has become a pure non-functional sculptural work. The concept converges along three branches of theoretical thought: scientific evidence of chaos and randomness in nature; mathematical principles of proportion; and social theory about the role of the individual in society.

In art and in nature, there is a tension between order and chaos. If there is too much order, nothing creative can be achieved; if there is too much chaos, anything that is created is destroyed at its inception. Scientists have provided new evidence that the human brain teeters on the verge between order and chaos – what they term “the edge of chaos.” This is the point where there is enough chaos for innovation and originality, but still enough organization for patterns to last.

The seemingly random yet mathematically precise patterns that occur in nature inspired many of the artists who influenced Edge of Chaos. The bio-organic-mechanical trappings of Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger have captivated my imagination from an early age on, as has the flowing, organic whiplash style of Alphonse Mucha, a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist. Reaching further back into history, for centuries artists have been using the golden ratio to actualize both balance and symmetry in composition and arrangement. This principle of proportion, used extensively by great masters such as Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Botticelli, is also found in the natural world.

Like nature, society may also be observed as a balance of order and chaos. Georg Simmel, a 19th century sociologist, believed that, while we regard ourselves as individuals, we are inextricably connected to society and each other, interlinked into a synchronic reality. The deliberate grouping of randomly patterned rings in Edge of Chaos mirrors this view of society, while the single stone is a representation of the individual artist amidst and interlinked with the chaotic and ordered.

The intent of Edge of Chaos is to construct a work that integrates classic and contemporary artistic principles of proportion, texture, rhythm, unity and variety. These random patterns evident in the Edge of Chaos incite an implied functionality where the mind struggles to seek and recognize visual unity, to try to connect the fragmentary information for closure.



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