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James Flynn - Exhibitions - Callan Contemporary

Press Release

Quantum Noûs   

August 1st through September 24th, 2016

Artist’s Reception: Saturday, August 6th, 6-9PM


Callan Contemporary is pleased to announce its second solo exhibition of artist James Flynn with an opening August 6th in conjunction with Whitney White Linen Night.


Quantum Physics views the true nature of reality as illusory and suggests that color, form and sensation are perceptions manifested by the human mind.  The Greek word “Noûs” refers to the faculty of the mind that perceives. 

Quantum Noûs is a series of paintings that are visual musings on the interface between Quantum Physics and the nature of mind and perception.  James Flynn’s opto-kinetic interpretations are mesmerizing images exquisitely composed of intricate patterns and scintillating colors that shift, pulse, iridesce, and fluoresce.

Through the optical devices of Chromoluminarism and Pareidolia, the artist compels the viewer to navigate complex visual ambiguities and ultimately to confront the subjective unstable nature of the very process of perception by which images are composed from the light and color that fall upon our eyes.  Flynn employs Chromoluminarism, an innovation of the Post-Impressionist Seurat, by weaving curvilinear bands composed of three pure pigments whose individual colors coalesce in the viewer’s eye to create new and different colors.  In these paintings, color is elusive and changes with the viewer’s proximity. 

Flynn’s strategic juxtaposition of color and clever manipulation of line value create an overwhelmingly complex array of patterning that produces the phenomenon of Pareidolia.  Non-existent faces, beings, and landscapes appear to emerge from seemingly multi-dimensional spaces.  Pareidolia is the brain’s mind-bending neural response to abstract stimuli.  When faced with novel visual stimuli, the brain reorganizes what it perceives, creating the illusion of shapes and forms that are familiar -- but unique to each viewer.

Flynn's paintings operate at the intersection of aesthetics and neuroscience.  Are we gazing into a painted image or into our own subconscious minds?  With a slight shift in position or change of light angle, we abandon our initial visual conclusions as colors change and new images begin to appear.  We are led to question our perceptions, chasing a “reality” we can never grasp.  As with the paradoxical property of light to exist simultaneously as both particle and wave, all images are at all times possible until the observer “collapses” the patterns into form.  Flynn allows the viewer’s mind to choose, and to choose again.

Evident in the works of Quantum Noûs is James Flynn’s decades-long creative dialogue with Mexican Surrealist Pedro Friedeberg.  As a most ardent student of Friedeberg, Flynn references important aspects of his mentor’s work with regard to metaphysical themes, ambiguous geometry, and illusionistic perspective.  As Friedeberg materializes fantastic worlds with impossible architecture and intricate designs, Flynn manifests enigmatic, kaleidoscopic, and visually confounding fields that keep the viewer engaged.

Diana Friedeberg

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