Artist ‘pushes past chaos’ in new Washington Art Association exhibit

"A Farewell to Ice" by Caroline Harman

WASHINGTON DEPOT — The Washington Art Association presents “Life in the Balance,” paintings and drawings by Caroline Harman of Newtown, throughAugust 24.

Harman’s richly patterned works explore the ideas of life and adaptability. She poses the questions, “In order to survive, how do the complex systems that support life adapt to change? What are the qualities of adaptability, and how could those traits be explored and represented through art?”

Believing that nature speaks in patterns, she uses multi-rhythmical forms, color and geometry to respond to the boundless stimuli and increasing instability all around us. She explores how living organisms, and the entangled systems within which they exist, adapt to random events and adverse conditions.

Her paintings and drawings shift from chaos to symmetry. The “edge of chaos” is a term in complex systems theory that describes the exact point where a chaotic system meets an ordered system. It is a moment where new emergent phenomena can occur. The idea, then, is to push each painting up to and past the point of chaos in order to observe what happens.

Harman’s process involves a slow, careful buildup of layers to create balance, and the frequent introduction of random disruptors (ink stains, paint pours, sprays and drips) to create imbalance. The two opposing forces work continuously with and against each other over many months, ultimately evolving into a state of equilibrium.

Visit the gallery at 4 Bryan Memorial Plaza, Washington Depot.

For more information, call 860-868-2878 or visit www.washingtonartassociation.org.

Connecticut Media Group