Featuring Catherine Lee
…"'the totality is not, as it were, a mere heap, but the whole is something besides the part…' Aristotle
In philosophy, science, economics, nature and art, emergence is a process whereby larger entities, patterns, and behaviors arise by means of interactions between smaller or more elemental entities that by themselves do not exhibit such characteristics. George Henry Lewes coined the term “emergence” in 1875 when he introduced the subject in his philosophical treatise, Problems of Life and Mind, by stating, 'emergence is the co-operation of things of unlike kinds.” Consciousness can be seen as an emergent property of the brain. Biological life can be understood as an emergence of interacting molecules. Molecules themselves can be seen as an emergence of elementary particles. Most importantly, emergence describes the naturally occurring phenomenon of self-organization. In nature we see emergence everywhere - in the formation of snowflakes, coral reefs, sand dunes or in the behavior of flocking birds.
'To whatever degree we might imagine our knowledge of the properties of the several ingredients of a living body to be perfected, it is certain that no mere summing up of the separate actions of those elements will ever amount to the action of the living body itself...' John Stuart Mill
When I have the rare opportunity to see a collection of my work that spans decades, I’m made aware, once again, of the extreme variability of forms, materials, approaches, results. There are paintings, for instance, stretched and unstretched, with color and without; sculptures that are three dimensional, some that are flattened on a wall, and some that spill onto the floor; there are unique singularities and repeating forms; there are both stationary and moveable works; graphic works and bolted objects, works of wax, wood, iron, fiberglass, bronze; all manner of materials. And although my work has no one signature ‘look,’ I feel that it’s clearly all of a piece, made all by one mind. The totality of the body of my work over time seems an emergence, a multiplicity of unlike objects and intentions which, within a lifetime, have self-organized into a unified whole, with unexpected characteristics not evident when viewing the component parts separately. The variety of forms, materials, expressions, which I’ve rendered for forty years, are not merely a succession of single, disparate objects, willed into existence (although they are that too!), but more - that they are a 'co-operation of things of unlike kinds,' which somehow cohere into a single articulation of who, abstractly, I am."
For more information please visit Catherine Lee's website.