I have been looking at the Chinese philosophy Li – the underlying reason and order of nature as reflected in its organic forms.
I have been looking at the Li – Dynamic Form in Nature book by David Wade, from the Wooden series (Wade, David. Li – Dynamic Form in Nature. Glastonbury: 2007). I hope that through understanding the function behind natural patterns I will better understand the functions in my own patterns/work.
Patterns as part of the process
‘Li are appealing in a purely aesthetic sense because, although they tend to be relatively simple configuration, they have a high degree of content.’[i]
Apart from their beautiful patterns, the thing that interests me the most is that they are not just patterns for patterns sake, their patterns are created through their function, one cannot exist without the other.
My drawings are the same the pattern is created through the process.
‘as a concept it falls between our notion of ‘pattern’ and ‘principle’.’[ii]
Impression of a frozen moment
‘Li are essentially dynamic formations, and as such can give the impression of a frozen moment, of a process caught at a particular instant of time, or in a more abstract sense, of the principle of energy engaging with that of form.’[iii]
I like the idea that the patterns capture and represent a moment in time, like a snap shot. My work is like a snap shot of my mind, like diary pages, built upon each other.
Here are the groups of patterns I have been looking at, within each group the patterns have similar functions and properties, but each group relates differently to my work.
The illustration here are from the book Li – Dynamic Form in Nature, which was written and illustrated by David Wade. (Wade, David. Li – Dynamic Form in Nature. Glastonbury: 2007).
Brancha (branching patterns) and Vasculum (leaf vascular patterns)
‘Branching systems [whether tress or roots] provide an elegant solution where there is a need to access every part of a given area in the most efficient and economical way.’[vi]
‘Vascular system provide a supporting skeleton.’[vii]
My drawings start with writing, which resemble the look of branches reaching and taking my drawing across the page, but instead of been an efficient way to distribution energy it is more like the vascular system providing a ‘supporting skeleton’, the bones on which my drawings grow around.
Labyrinth (natural mazes and patterns) and Anfractuous (winding and turning forms)
‘Many civilizations, both ancient and modern, have created mazes and labyrinths. The motives for building them are not always clear and it seems probable that different cultures had different uses for them…do they in some way reflect the working of our mental and psychic processes.’[x]
The labyrinths in my work are on this idea of labyrinths as ‘Mind-teasing patterns [that] also appear in nature’[xi] but are formed like the anfractuous which can be ‘traced back to structures associated with their underlying causation’[xii], like how my labyrinths are drawn and formed around my writing.
Cellular (basic organic arrangements)
‘All organisms are made up of cells; they comprise the basic structural units of all organic matter.’[xiv]
These are reminiscent of the cells that form the basic structure, the flesh of my work. They build up on each other, circles forming circles and it is through the repetitiveness that I focus which then becomes meditative.
Concentra (propagation around circles) and Phyllotaxy (dynamic spirality)
Concentra ‘much of the colour and the tonal variation are the result of ‘impurities’ in the accumulating layers and of competition between rival centres of crystal growth.’[xvii]
Close up Meditation Drawing
The building up of circles resemble the ‘impurities’ in the concentra but is more like phyllotaxy, with their ‘interaction between the two great principles of from and energy’[xviii]. The body of my work is made up by circles and has different clusters of circles (like the impurities) that are created by a different energies and different mind sets.
Aggregration (the collection of element)
‘According to the Greek philosopher Empedocles all the change and movement in the universe, including all the processes of creation and destruction, stem ultimately from two great principles of attraction and repulsion’[xx]
This helps me to see how different elements fit together in my work.