Artists Statement


To see a World in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.

William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

Vision, in its broadest sense, is one of the key attributes of the human being. The visual cortex is one of the earliest organs to develop in the human foetus and is one of the largest parts of the brain.

We use vision for everything we do, not just for actually seeing. We visualise intellectual problems; we imagine and dream.

Human vision has great depth and breadth. We can ‘see’ the Universe which may be up to 15 billion light years in size and we can ‘see’ subatomic particles as small as 10-13cm. We have visualised a language, mathematics, with which to describe and define what we see.

One branch of mathematics is concerned with so-called Chaos Theory or, more accurately, non-linear dynamics. We have discovered that nature builds everything out of non-resolving equations, more popularly known as fractals.

Fractal structures never repeat themselves exactly although shapes may look similar (hence the human fingerprint or DNA). Every structure is unique as a whole and in its individual parts all the way to zero or to infinity. Neverthetheless, no matter at what scale you are observing, the resulting picture will be similar; this is called scale invariance.

There is also similarity between structures. Thus, a flower may look very like a star; a wave may resemble a galaxy. For me, this is a clue to the deepest understanding of the interconnected nature of the Universe originating within the quantum level. Also, the Universe uses very simple rules to build complex structures, a process known to scientists as emergence.

My work is therefore about generating complexity from simplicity, interconnectivity, about scale invarience and resulting ambiguities. If the rules governing the fractal structures of the Universe are true then it should also be true for paint. With that in mind, I plan the general composition of a piece and, recreating the rules using blown air, but let the paint follow the rules of the Universe in the detail.

I celebrate the infinite variation and ineffable beauty of natural forms as an insight into our connection to the Universe. After all, we too are fractal structures and creatures of the quantum realm.

Jon Lisle-Summers

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