Have you ever wondered what a person’s mind looks like?
This is not necessarily the brain, or the personality, but the mind, or whatever you may call the neural grid that crisscrosses the brain like a net, like lightning across a primordial sky, grey static on white.
Perhaps you want to see bugs? A part of you is a lepidopterist, wanting to look upon bugs that flutter past your eyes now pinned in place, like an anatomy lesson or a microscopic view of a slide.
Perhaps you might just want to see patterns, endless ones, spiraling in and out of each other; fractals upon fractals that cause near bliss as you are enveloped in the act of seeing them.
All of these sights, for those who are curious as to what I am talking about, made up the exhibition “An Unnamed Need: Pattern and Beauty in Contemporary Art,” which opened in the Wriston Art Center Galleries on Friday, Jan. 15.
The word “patterns” does not even begin to describe just what exactly you will see should you trudge through the snow and enter the space.
Patterns of bugs—entire walls are covered with what look like either giant cicadas or moths. It looks like something out of “Hannibal” while still being weirdly inviting, as if Hannibal Lecter was going to invite you over and have a completely normal meal that did not involve cannibalism.
Patterns of brains—the patterns like static that I mentioned earlier occupy the end of the hall, with a second piece involving a sphere made by the same artist. The pieces are so large it is easy to get lost in them.
Patterns of wheels—of dots in blues and greys and reds, like pointillism or the eyes of a bumblebee. Waves of stained glass and paint repeat, like a wave pool on some alien world, splashing into your eyes and back again.
The real star of the show, however, was the sphere. Though the gallery can be seen at any time now, there is still the fact of the matter that openings often feature things that going later does not. In this case, it was a demonstration by Tony Orrico, the artist responsible for the piece involving the sphere and the neural patterns, and we saw him make one of these works.
We saw him lying on the canvas, stomach side down, moving with pencils attached like claws to his hands, an artistic Wolverine from “X-Men.” He made snow angels, or at least the motion, so many times we lost count. From the white void of a canvas appeared a sphere that seemed dense enough to plunge through.
We applauded. Of course we did. We saw someone create something from nothing. Such is the power of art. Even an image, repeated and repeating, can create something of overwhelming beauty.