17 January - 10 February, 2001
The deftly exquisite two-dimensional images Liz Coats creates,
whether translucent glass or canvas, completely dematerialise the
flat surface into deceptively ordered symmetries that draw both
on the fractal mathematics of chance, probability and chaos, and
the twentieth centurys obsessive tradition of abstract expressionism.
Their most charming and perhaps most elusive details are seemingly
generated at random by the interference patterns of overlapping
rhythms - like ripples on still water - or grow organically and
regularly like the crystal of a snowflake.
Carefully imagined combinations
of colour and form confuse and merge to engage and delight as strangely
familiar yet alien qualia in both sensorium and intellect of the
viewer, where the gaze can be neither naive nor cynical. The French
have an expression for the sensation: jamis vu - the feeling that
something is somehow fresh and new no matter how many times it
is previously experienced.
The optical illusions dance and suggest
keys to their interpretation through the false leads of their own
structure. There are infinite possible directions. They are enigmatic
hieroglyphs to a quantum religion.
The philosopher Leibniz
suggested that the macrocosm of the universe and the microcosm
of the human mind are transfused with the same cosmic patterns
- a morphic resonance - that encapsulates everything in a single
holographic gestalt. Perhaps it is this that appeals in Coats images;
the order suggested in chaos, or mirrors that reflect the viewers
own mind. The viewer, like Narcissus, finds whatever sympathies,
harmonies, discords and affinities in the sweet disorder that
rise up from the pattern recognition faculty of their own mind
-consciously and unconsciously.
Is Coats an artist of colour, form
or visual densities? Multiple cases could be made and endlessly
argued. One is reminded of the intellectual labyrinths of Jorge
Luis Borges or the faith of the devout in the belief that Creation
is a design that can only be understood at the apocalypse of
its completion. The works, however, remain obstinate in their difficulty,
hermetic, hermeneutic and immune to analysis. Their graceful
comes from what is hidden, and their truth is to be found in
the accumulation of infinite overlapping possibilities.
Andrew Paul Wood
View Shifting Geometries - Liz Coats - Essay by Andrew Paul Wood as a PDF
This essay originally appeared in
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