Dactyl Foundation is pleased to announce the publication of Victoria N. Alexander’s The Biologist’s Mistress: Rethinking Self-Organization in Art, Literature and Nature.
Teleology is like a mistress to the biologist; he dare not be seen with her in public but cannot live without her –J. B. S. Haldane
Drawing on her experiences as a complexity theorist, novelist and art-theorist, Victoria N. Alexander examines the history and practices of teleology, the study of purpose, in nature as well as in human behavior. She takes us “inside” paradoxically purposeful self-organizing entities (which somehow make themselves without having selves yet to do the making), and she shows us how poetic-like relationships—things coincidentally like each other or metaphoric and things coincidentally near each other or metonymic—help form organization where there was none before. She suggests that it is these chance language-like processes that result in emergent design and selfhood, thereby offering an alternative to postmodern theories that have unfairly snubbed the purposeful artist. Alexander claims that what has been missing from the general discussion of purposefulness is a theory of creativity, without which there can be no purposeful action, only robotic execution of inherited design. Thus revising while reviving teleology, she offers us a secular, non-essentialist conception of selfhood as an achievement that can be more than a momentary stay against the second law.
The book includes anecdotes about Dactyl Foundation’s artists and history. All proceeds from book sales will be donated to the foundation to help support educational programs and research in art-science.
October 3rd – 25th, 2008
curated by Hikari Yokoyama
opening: October 3rd, 6:00 – 9:00
Internationally recognized for his palimpsest style, throughout his career Angelbert Metoyer has employed an esoteric system of symbols and icons to bemuse viewers and present himself as a shamanistic seer. Lately, he has gone deeper into abstraction, aligning his work with contemporary science’s ultimate abstractions: quantum mechanics and field theory. [continue...]
April 19 – May 6, 2007
paintings & drawings
Curated by Victoria N. Alexander
Opening: Thursday, April 19, 7 – 9PM
Deborah N. Sessel is a representational painter, depicting, in painstaking detail, humble personal items left behind by Jews who suffered the Holocaust. Working in oil, she renders with care the silken folds of a delicate scarf, a silver Star of David on a chain, and [continue...]
September 24, 2005-November 18, 2005
“Where Eagles Dare,” paintings
Curated by Neil Grayson
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 24, 2005, 7-9 PM
If at first glance this work seems to depict pretty bucolic suburban life, on second glance one notes that the sparrows and pigeons are tattooed with gang affiliations. Telephone poles replace totem poles and smoke stacks steeples in their sacred significance. The theme running through the series speaks of wild animals being partially domesticated and children going feral. This untraditional portrayal of nature is not necessarily sinister, but it’s edgier than it first appears.
Former graffiti artist, Sage Vaughn has been featured in Warped, Nylon, Juxtapos, PUTA and i-D magazines as “an artist to watch.”
Works on Paper
October 16 – Nov 30, 2004
Yelena Yemchuk has had a number of fine art photography exhibitions, including a solo exhibition at Dactyl Foundation in 2002 and a group exhibition at Sotheby’s, also in 2002. While Yelena [continue...]
September 3 – 28 2002
Before & After 9/11, paintings and drawings by Jim Gilroy.
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 7th, 6-8pm
“Before and After 9/11: Gilroy’s Falling Figure”
by Victoria N. Alexander and Maria Villafranca
Jim Gilroy has painted falling figures for the past five or so years. It is a theme that keeps insisting itself on his life in inexplicable and unexpected ways. When he was thirteen, he stood in a crowd of onlookers one afternoon in midtown Manhattan and watched a man jump to his death from [continue...]
March 16-April 14, 2002
Nothing Bad Has Happened 12″ x 16″ pen and shellac on canvas
Emily Orling‘s paintings place babies in reddish-brown mucus, referencing the womb. Even her babies in bathtubs draw on the idea of the womb as comfort, or its lack. Separation creates intense loneliness. These [continue...]
Complexity Science and the Arts
zingmagazine 10, 1999