Chaos Theory

Works by Vivian Vargas

BNSF Transportation Gallery


August 5-27, 2022


Exhibition Statement

Chaos Theory

Perhaps it would surprise people that the physical process of obtaining a high-quality image of a cell measuring less than 0.2 microns is almost identical to the one used to capture an entire galaxy with a telescope, or miles and miles of cornfields with a drone or a satellite.

It would surprise even more people that, when examining these images, they are often difficult to tell apart. That similar patterns, colors and formations emerge in them, making it a challenge to decipher whether one is looking at a distant nebulosa, or a droplet of water hidden between the folds of a leaf.

The shapes that appear behind the lens are in fact expressions of various natural and biochemical processes that can usually be modelled mathematically, and result in symmetries, spirals, fractal cracks and stripes. What would appear as a lovely bit of serendipity is actually reliant on strict natural laws that follow principles such as Plateau’s Laws of minimal surface, Turing patterns, and constant feedback loops.

They recur regardless of the scale at which we chose to observe. This subtle evidence of order amidst chaos is a source of wonder and comfort.

It is also insanely beautiful, and the collision of these multiple worlds fascinates me. I have made it the core of my artistic practice to explore and test the boundaries of it by collaging the different kinds of images I make.

My work begins in the field. Collecting samples for later dissection, camping out in the desert with my telescope, hiking mountains to fly a drone above the Sierra Madre.

Back in the studio, I print thousands of these samples and thus begins the process of analysis: connecting dots, searching for patterns, repetition, signs of nature drawing and leaving marks upon its ancient creation. Deconstructing and rebuilding.

I sort the samples by color, textures, patterns, and begin re-assembling them on canvas. The samples soon begin to merge and become a homogeneous mass. Creating this new composition decontextualizes each individual photograph and gives it new meaning.

In a world of ever-scrolling, Chaos Theory provides a distinct pause. It is an ode to the analoge with a nod to novel technology.




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