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  • Jennifer Chalklen

Dichotomies within Nature

We tend to categorise things internally to assimilate a sense of natural order, often as dichotomies; good versus evil, happy versus sad, elation versus despair. Perhaps these dichotomies don’t exist, and these conflicting states are two opposite ends on the spectrum in the framework of the same state or emotion. Maybe, there are no lines or boundaries and our current state is just a constantly moving target toward either opposing end of a polaric spectrum in any given circumstance, within a complex series of states that coexist within us all at any given moment.


We can be successful, and fail simultaneously at different tasks at the same time, be empowered but also vulnerable, strong but wounded, sometimes these states are entirely subjective. Sometimes it seems like we can feel everything at the same time, and sometimes we just feel nothing at all...


The concept of dividing our natural environment around us into separate categories, like species, by virtue of their definitions, is a useful methodical process for being able to create sense and order, and to relay information in a simplified way, however are we able to apply this same form of logic to defining and understanding our inner selves?


The process of separating our emotions and experiences into often diametrically opposing states, which by their definition are unable coexist is flawed. These states are not linear, and they don't exist within us consecutively, but simultaneously.


Even within nature, everything is constantly changing. Animal species are not at an evolutionary end point and are constantly evolving at a micro level towards shifting outside the boxes we have created to label and categorize them.


This form of categorization is at best, the most useful cursory method we have arrived at to relate to our outside world, by using the tools at our disposal, derived through our constant desire to draw boundaries to understand and define our natural environment, however boundaries in nature don't exist outside our experience of trying to understand them. In nature things 'just are.'


'Nature never apologizes' Thoreau

Nature doesn’t know the opposites of right and wrong and therefore doesn’t recognize what humans imagine to be “errors.”


We hear people say things like 'You can't experience true happiness, unless you have felt pain and sadness,' maybe this is because these states of being are so closely intertwined that they belong to each other, without one, the other could not exist, a counterbalance. It's just the movement on this scale, in a silent tug of war, that makes it perceptible.


'Failure is not the opposite of success, it's part of it.' Adrianna Huffington

Additionally, in modern physics where our knowledge in relating to the world around us has made it's greatest advances, these boundaries don't seem to exist at all, in the theory of relativity the state of movement and rest have become a type of union of opposites and are totally indistinguishable from each other, 'each is both.'


Perhaps there are no lines in the sand. No prescribed boundaries. We just move through these states fluidly, like music. With each idea, memory, thought and movement, we adjust, like notes on a score, a single note shifts into a chord, then into a melody in a endless composition. Random coincidences and synchronizations make it all sound vaguely familiar to us for a fleeting moment, then it's gone. There are songs that have ended, and ones still yet to begin in this strange, living, breathing, dying, cacophony of a symphony that we are all thrust into at birth. life.


My current works deals with these simultaneous, often conflicting states of existence specifically within the female experience, their nuances and their relationship to the female aesthetic and anatomy. The layers in my work represent different states of consciousness, cognitive awareness, colours narrate emotional states, at varying heights and opaqueness to represent our emotional highs and lows and intensity in a visual way.


This style of representation allows for a subjective perspective of femininity. It varies from the way that women have been traditionally been portrayed throughout history; not as subjects, but objects to be acted upon, two dimensional figures from a voyeuristic perspective, where femininity is coarsely filtered through the prism of the male gaze.


'Embrace contradictions for they make up all of life; You will eternally be looking for yourself and seeking to lose yourself at the same time.' Kamand Kojouri

Peace out x





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