Fractured visions from Vazan

Even in his shirt, spotted with year-old inkblots and stains from the local Taco Bell, I could tell he was a man exposed once, for a brief moment, to the secrets of the cosmos. Scrawled across his face, the wrinkles would twist into hieroglyphics when he mumbled lessons on life.

He explained the world of fractions and algebraic formulas in the most inarticulate manner possible, though he gathered enough coherence to explain how mathematics is the language of nature.

His cracked fingernail jerked frantically from his hand as he pointed to all the patterns that surrounded us; the ebb and wane of the caribou population (there was a bit of a caribou epidemic at our school) or the spiral on a mollusk shell (the mollusk infestation hadn’t quite reached the level of the caribou epidemic). After, he’d sit smugly in his point, oblivious to my not being there.

Standing here, gazing upon the current photography exhibit on display in the Cosmological Shadows collection, I am reminded of that crazy bastard.

Bill Vazan is renowned for merging his creative impulses with his fascination with modern physics, evident in his extraordinary Land Art creations and exhibit housed on campus in the Nickel Arts museum. Enigmatic structures of ancient Egypt are juxtaposed with the magnificent natural landscape of the northern shores of Quebec, photographs taken during Bill’s travels to both places. It is not the picturesque environments that are on display, but his obsession for the systems and patterns existing in our world.

Patterns are everywhere.

We are not presented with a single frame of the world but an attempt to show the world within a singular, cyclical system. Though he may not entirely convince us he’s achieved that particular goal, we are still presented with microcosms of our world within what he identifies as singularities, globes, membranes and ovals.

Patterns emerge.

Images are divided into segments to present a reconfiguration of our world, highlighting the relationship between man and nature. It is like watching concentric circles ripple across the dimensions of our reality. An image of the Giza Pyramids and their seeming reflection refract through segregated frames. The revelation of the cyclical patterns in the images is hypnotic–we have attempted to mimic the designs which exist in nature, creating patterns within patterns.

Mathematics are the language of nature. We live within their utterance and attempt to recreate their vernacular of reality, but we’re unable to decipher the patterns in which we exist. But, like a child who crudely attempts to use a Spirograph, we remain in the shadows of the cosmos, denied the secrets of the designs we attempt to mimic.

In his attempt to capture the patterns from which we arose, Bill Vazan brings us closer to realizing how far the cosmic shadow stretches.

Bill Vazan’s Cosmological Shadows exhibit runs through Mar. 13 at the

Nickle Arts Museum.

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