Exploring Chaos

Beginning this week at Alphie’s Trough in the University Club is a month-long art show entitled Chaotic Opposites which will feature original works by several Brock students. Chaotic Opposites will feature art by Kevin Bubish, Lisa Spencer, Mark Schmidt, Zdenek Horky, Dominika Kolodziejczyk, Karoline Szabados, Doug Caldwell, along with pieces from curator Karen Kwan and John-Mark Leonard, who assisted in the organization of the event. Kwan, a third-year visual arts student, received the opportunity and space to do this project with the help of one of her teachers, who talked to the University Club on Kwan’s behalf about opening it up to the public for this show.

Kwan chose the theme of opposites for her curating debut because she “likes differences” and did not want to put up art in a traditional way. Inspired by contrasting works she has seen in the past, Kwan says you are likely to find pieces that contrast in both subtle and more obvious ways. A monotone painting or work with a darker subject matter, for example, a painting featuring a coffin, may very well be hanging by one of Kwan’s own more colourful, upbeat works. There is even contrast in the ages of the selected artists, who range from 19 to 70. Kwan hand picked all of the featured artists herself, asking them to submit a piece based on the show’s main theme of opposites. In a sense, the show will be unified by the fact that all of these artists will be exploring differences and juxtapositions visually.

The show will feature a collective work, yet each piece will be exploring this ying/yang approach of interpreting the world through art. The contributing artists have submitted pieces that are opposites in colour, subject, and shape. The art will vary from subdued, drab monotones and hazy perspectives to bright, clear primary colours and hyper-real, intense fluorescents. Subjects range from works of humans and animals to landscapes. Subject matter may go from the familiar to nonrepresentational, to even absurd themes.

The art itself will be taking many forms. There will be traditional paintings on canvas, large hand-painted posters, three dimensional sculptures and even video screenings, which will be screened at the opening reception.

John-Mark Leonard, another visual arts student who is helping Kwan curate the show, has his own take on Chaotic Opposites. He equates the show’s central theme of opposites to snake poison, which can be lethal. Snake poison, however, has recently been investigated for its alleged medicinal and healing properties. Also, by evoking the contradictory nature of art itself, Leonard articulates what the theme of opposites really will bring to the show.

“The artist experiences inspiration described as an ethereal experience … a chaotic experience.”

He also points out that art and science, two seemingly opposites in themselves, are also examples of chaotic opposites, because as different as they are from each other, they have both experimented with similar subjects throughout history.

“When Einstein was developing the theory of relativity, which was about the matter of time, Picasso was experimenting with Cubist Paintings. In these Cubist paintings, Picasso added a fourth dimension, which was suggested to be time itself.”

Leonard says that there is order to be found in chaos, and essentially this sums up what the Chaotic Opposites project is about.

The opening reception, which will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18, will give the public a chance to meet the artists in person. There will also be live music, film screenings, food, and the bar will be open as well. Kwan says that viewers will gain an appreciation for how contemporary art is done, as all of the pieces are recent works. She also says that the show proves that “anybody can make an art show if I can do it. Anything is art.”

Chaotic Opposites is on display at Alphie’s Trough, the University Club. The opening reception is Friday, Jan. 18. The show will be on display from Monday, Jan. 14 until Monday, Feb. 11. The gallery will be open to faculty and club members, as well as the public alike from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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