14 April - 12 May 2012
Please join us for the opening on Saturday 14 April at 14:00
Catalogue available from the gallery. Please scroll down for the on-line
MP3 Podcast available. Please scroll down
Join us for a walkabout with the artist on Thursday 19 April at 18:00
Complexity by proxy. The unpredictable development of new creative insights into novel aesthetic configurations seems to be consistent with the immensely exciting self-organizing complexity of our co-existent reality. I generally situate my art practice within these ever increasing complex assemblages, networks and pathways that evolve and mutate over time. However, I have to take into account that our world, universe or reality is infinitely complex by proxy. Therefore attempts to work with complicated methods in order to introduce further complexity into an already complex world somehow seem redundant, especially in our visually oversaturated multimedia milieu. It is here that I would like to make the case for simplicity of action. It comes as no surprise to me that notions of ritual, repetition, practice, and pattern making have proved to be very useful tools for cultural production over the ages. Furthermore, the contemporary practice of generative art-making strategies supplies me with a useful tool for aesthetic experimentation. In his paper, “What is Generative Art? Complexity Theory as a context for Art Theory”, Philip Galanter suggests that “(g)enerative art refers to any art practice where the artist uses a system, such as a set of natural language rules, a computer program, a machine, or other
procedural invention, which is set into motion with some degree of autonomy contributing to
or resulting in a completed work of art” (2003:4).
My aim is to conceptualize simple rule-based behaviours that, when acted out and maintained, produce emergent behaviour that is not always predictable. The broader patterns can sometimes be anticipated, but never the specific intricacies of details. There is subsequently a prominent aspect of relinquished control and thus minimal interference in how the artwork 'grows’. The accrual of this growth renders novel forms that are difficult for the maker to judge. I am not really interested in what these forms mean, or indeed in attributing any value judgement to them. Rather, to the contrary, I am interested in the process of practice. Sources: Galanter, P. 2003. “What is Generative Art? Complexity Theory as context for Art Theory” in International Conference on Generative Art. Milan: Generative Design Lab.
Neil le Roux, 2012
Neil le Roux’s ballpoint pen drawings can be described as a series of obsessive, repetitive curved lines, forming peaks and dales in what appears to be topographic maps of imaginative land masses, or concentric circles resembling the year rings of hewn trees. They seem to be illustrative of the title of his exhibition, Self-Organized Systems, his first solo show at GALLERY AOP. The process of drawing is cardinal in his work. It is apt to use Richard Serra’s maxim ‘Drawing is a verb’ when describing Le Roux’s drawings. His drawing is, however, much more than process; it is as much an artifact, projective, not predictive, of its own aesthetic outcome, as it is of an act.
There seems to be a synergy between Le Roux’s drawings and the experiments with permaculture that he conducts on a piece of land in Jamestown, outside Stellenbosch. On a narrow, elongated plot of land running from the main road of the town to a river, he interrupts the natural slope of the land by digging out earth dams, erecting hothouses and raising beds in curved, contour-like lines, preparing it for cultivation.
His drawings map land mass such as the contours and ‘content’ of South Africa, or Eurasia, and, recently, such diverse phenomena as the patterns of sunflower seeds. He calls these Deterministic Chaos Drawings. Any attempt to explain his drawings by ascribing oxymoronic features to it, is futile. Randomness is not a feature of his art. Rather, it can best be accounted for by invoking Chaos Theory. Small differences in initial conditions, Chaos Theory holds, yield widely divergent outcomes for chaotic systems, rendering long-term predictions impossible in general. Le Roux’s drawings contain many such initial conditions, or ‘interruptions’ that determine the course of each line: it changes direction; it intersects with others; it repeats itself – or, as he has it – it is self-generative; and so on, the outcome of which is a seemingly random cartographic drawing.
Neil le Roux was born in Pretoria in 1985. He graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BA Visual Arts (Fine Art) degree in 2008 and has enrolled for a Masters in Fine Art at this University. He had his first solo exhibition called Revelating Now in Cape Town in 2009. He was nominated for the Spier Contemporary Art Competition in 2010 and his drawings were included in the seminal Draw Links group exhibition at GALLERY AOP in October 2010. He lives in Jamestown, Stellenbosch, where he has initiated and sustained a collaborative agro-ecological permaculture project.