Alan Thomas
23rd March – 16th April 2022

Seeking freedom from anchoring assumptions, attribution and closure in the world, my indeterminate self is seduced by the provisional nature of stuff. My practice operates from a speculative standpoint inviting engagement in uncertainty. It questions its identity and seeks to deny itself, to deny a tangible reality.
This provisionality is perhaps most strongly rendered through recent empirical understandings in neurobiology, evolutionary theory and physics. Evolution, it seems, ensures that whatever it is we believe we are perceiving bears no relationship to the truth of matter1. And our perception is predominantly projective—we experience what we expect to experience, we impose affirmation on the world2.

To interrogate ways in which material and matter can be understood, I seek states of transition and thresholds of uncertainty. Through extended observation of material interaction and behaviour, I capture metamorphic junctures. Here, instants when materials interact in unforeseen ways are caught, frozen in the act. Changes of state and energy are buried within ceramic and metallurgic processes. Integrating the associative histories of these materials into my practice, both material present and material absent determine what becomes apparent. There is perhaps a vulnerability in these transformative moments that belies the material. 

I aim to draw into the nexus of human expectation and human limitation that obscures unimaginable complexity, the convolution within. Using sculpture as allusion without compass, as an operative language, an apparent state of entity, I seek to explore the provisionality of matter. Through this, I speculate, material indeterminacy might be glimpsed, free of anchoring assumptions, offering fresh reconciliation with the perceived world.

1] Hoffman, Donald (2019) The Case Against Reality: How Evolution Hid the Truth From Our Eyes. Allen Lane/Penguin Random House, London. Hoffman shows, using evidence from evolutionary theory, game theory and neuroscience, that evolution has shaped human senses to keep us alive, but to hide any truth from us.
2] Seth, Anil K (2021) Being You. Faber & Faber, London. Seth’s account of consciousness as a predominantly predictive engagement with the world explores fundamental questions about the self from philosophical and neuroscientific perspectives.