Early abstractionists like Af Klint, Kandinsky, Mondrian, and others, saw chance as a means to access the unconscious mind and deliver creative liberation. By using techniques such as automatic drawing, they sought to reveal deeper truths about the universe. For them, the gesture was not simply an autographic act, but a revelation about the underlying order of the universe.
As early as 1896, Hilma Af Klint and The Five were using automatic drawing—channeling psychic messages by free-associating and allowing their hands to be guided by ‘spirits’.1
“Every work of art is the child of its time”
- Opening sentence to Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art2
Today, the use of randomization and computer-assisted abstraction opens up a whole new realm of possibilities, where the artist becomes both the actor and acted upon.
I too believe in the power of chance—automation and randomness are fundamental elements to my practice. By programming the computer to generate strokes, I relinquish an essential element of control over the gesture. Always in the end bringing the work back into the physical realm through the application of oil on canvas with my own hand.
Who am I in this process? In some ways I am guiding the machine, but in many ways the machine is guiding me. Artists are often thought to be the closest to the spiritual realm than the rest of society, closer to the outer limits... so perhaps it's not too far-fetched to consider myself as a kind of intermediary, like The Five, acting out these recieved instructions in pursuit of creative liberation.
“Before the soul can see, the Harmony within must be attained, and fleshly eyes be rendered blind to all illusion.”
- The Voice Of The Silence by H.P. Blavatsky3
🎲 🄳🄾🄴🅂 🄲🄷🄰🄽🄲🄴 🄾🅁 🄾🅁🄳🄴🅁 🅁🅄🄻🄴? 🎲
There is no such thing as true randomness. And from a theosophical perspective, there is a definite and divine order to the universe, a purposeful synchronicity to life.
Paradoxically, it’s only by chasing formlessness, absolute nothingness, total non-order, do we reveal and unlock the ultimate underlying structures of the universe. I am constantly seeking this harmony.
Abstraction remains a powerful means of expressing the spiritual and emotional essence of the world. In Mondrian’s universe, horizontal and vertical lines ruled. In Kandinsky’s, fluid organic shapes. For me, the structure of the universe is utterly wiggly.