Friday, June 27, 2008

Aurora Robson's "Shebang"

Aurora Robson
Oil on panel
36 x 36 inches

There are at least seven strong works included in Gallery Satori's "Unreal City" exhibition (on view through July 27th). Among others, I was engaged by Jeremiah Teipen's basement smoke and light show ("Nothing, and everything"), Carlos Roque's aural-sculpture ("Sonic Architecture"), and two of Ha Rhin Kim's acrylic on mylar works, but Aurora Robson's "Shebang" resonated intensely.

Aurora Robson
Oil on panel
36 x 36 inches

The saturated color, layered surface and energetic, sensuous arabesques bring to mind the work of Brazilian painter Beatriz Milhazes, but where Milhazes is content to dwell in decoration, Robson embraces a more experiential magic, one that springs from an awareness of the ether.

Aurora Robson
"47 Society"
Oil on panel
24 x 24 inches

Hers is a physicist's sensiblity; the exuberance I felt in the presence of "Shebang" is the same I feel when I think hard on spacetime or abiogenesis.

Standing with the painting, I recalled something I'd recently read in Harper's Magazine. The following text is excerpted from "The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions," by David Berlinksi.
"'Faith' it is said in Hebrews 11:1, 'is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.'...If religious belief places the human heart in the service of an unseen world, the serious sciences have since the great revolution of the seventeenth century done precisely the same thing....

The universe in its largest aspect is the expression of curved space and time. Four fundamental forces hold sway. There are black holes and various infernal singularities. Particles pop out of quantum fields. Elementary particles appear either as bosons or fermions. The fermions are divided into quarks and leptons. Quarks come in six varieties, but they are never seen, confined as they are within hadrons by a force that perversely grows weaker at short distances and stronger at distances that are long. There are six leptons in four varieties. Depending on just how things counted, matter has as its fundamental constituents twenty-four elementary particles, together with a great many fields, symmetries, strange geometrical spaces, and forces that are disconnected at one level of energy and fused at another, as well as at least a dozen different forms of energy, all of them active.

This is not an ontology that puts one in mind of a longshoreman's view of the material world. It is remarkably baroque, and it is promiscuously catholic."

Such baroque catholicism is the stuff of theoretical science, but it is also the stuff of good art.

Aurora Robson
Oil on canvas on panel
72 x 108 inches

Note: David Berlinski is a proponent of Intelligent Design. I made clear my stance on his position in an earlier post, but I see no reason to dismiss all of his ideas because we disagree with specifics.

Photo credits: Aurora Robson images ripped from her website


Oly said...

I really like how simple yet well designed the gallery website is.
LES is kicking major butt these days, for sure.


bioephemera said...

Those are gorgeous. I love the curves in "Shebang" especially - I would not blink if told those orbital/ovarian bulbs are some kind of riff on the Big Bang + feminism.

At the same time, I saw on her website that the forms in her art are derivative of her childhood nightmares. . . I had recurring nightmares too, and when I was sick they involved viscous fluids and droplets that looked a lot like this. Weird!

Hungry Hyaena said...


I wasn't wild about the site's lack of content, but I did like the simplicity.

Bioephemera: sounds as though the two of you would hit it off.