Tuesday, July 24, 2018

The Aesthetics of Chaos

At the Frank Stella exhibit on Friday, I remarked to my spouse that I liked very few of the geometric paintings for which he is famous, while I could look at the amazing sculptures all day.  My spouse said, "Well, your aesthetics has always run to chaos--making beautiful things out of what most people would see as a mess."

In a way, he's right, at least about some things.  When I paint or sketch or doodle, I'm usually making swirls and playing with color.  When I collage, I'm a bit neater.  When I eat, I don't like my foods to touch.  My quilts run to imprecise geometrical lines, while other fabric art has been more like my paintings.  My fiction writing could probably use a bit more chaos.

My spouse would probably categorize my housekeeping as chaos, while I would categorize his as sticky (as in there's still sticky spots after he cleans, and he tends not to see the stickiness, whereas I do).  If no one has tried to clean up my chaos, I know exactly where everything is.

I arrived home last night to chaos not of my making.  We've been trying to get the house ready for the great flooring project.   My spouse had been trying to move stuff to the cottage and lost 3 bookcases, one of them falling on him when he lost control of the dolly and fell into the pool.  When I got home, he was still wet and limping.

The bookcases were empty, but still awkward--and they're twenty years old, cheap things made of pressboard.  My spouse had warned that they might not make the move.  I have noticed that the ones that we move out to the cottage by carrying them, instead of bumping them along in the dolly, survive.  Sigh.

I think my spouse is mostly O.K., although a bit sore from landing on the step in the shallow end of the pool.  It could have been so much worse.  He could have hit his head and drowned, for an extreme example.  He could have been held under by the bookcase and drowned.  He could have broken something.  We can replace bookcases.  We can't replace him.

I slept well last night, but I am still a bit weary this morning.  We keep moving our possessions, and we still have work to do--and that's before the real chaos of floor repair and replacing begins.

This morning, I'm taking some heart from the creation story in the book of Genesis--the first one, not the one with the snake and the forbidden fruit.  The first Genesis story is much more straightforward.  God creates beauty out of chaos and declares everything to be good and very good.

Let me remember that beauty can come out of chaos.  Let me remember how often the chaos creates the art supplies from which the beauty will be built.

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