Sunday, May 5, 2019

Meta•Morphic: Recent Paintings by James Flynn



From ancient times until at least the early renaissance, art, science and spirituality were all part of a magical totality in which all things were alive. Even language was fluid. In ancient Greece, the word "techne" could mean either art or technology. Language and technology eventually evolved such that all things were verbally sliced and diced into inert concepts, and everything, including people, became material “resources” to be exploited. More recent developments in physics suggest that everything in the universe is interconnected after all. James Flynn's opto-kinetic canvases reflect his interpretations of the invisible life of the subatomic particles, waves and fields that animate all things in the cosmos.  “The Synchronic Flux of the Particle Wave” (pictured), harks to the behavior of the particle fields that encompass the spaces of the universe, fields that can be illustrated as clusters of geometric particles that comprise larger, sphere-like forms. As expressions of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, their behavior is not totally predictable, so they can have an uncanny wild card life of their own.


The ancients saw the spiral forms found in nature – spiral nebulae in the skies and nautilus shells below – as icons of the interwoven creativity of the universe. Flynn's “Ayin” painting suggests a dance of energy within a vortex of curved space, a view that harks both to contemporary physics and the spiral mandalas of ancient Buddhists, Hindus and others for whom the spiral was an iconic reminder that we are all bound up in nature's sublimely interwoven patterns. Other works suggest the schematics of electrical or magnetic waves, or forces like gravity that we experience in a material way but which are really modalities of energy. Even famous paintings. “Mona Lisa at the Speed of Light IV” depicts Leonardo's enigmatic renaissance masterpiece as a grid of circles, ovoids, rods and lines that recall quantum theoretical notions while visually evoking the porous, mutable nature of just about everything. Inspired by his mentor, the great Mexican surrealist Pedro Friedeberg, Flynn, in this expo, extends the trajectory of op art into the mysteries of post-Einsteinian space. ~Bookhardt / Meta•Morphic: Recent Paintings by James Flynn, Through May 26th, Callan Contemporary, 518 Julia St., 525-0518.