The Order of Things

Christine Alfery

Posted on May 26 2022

The Order of Things

Featured image: Scarlet Tanager

Taxonomies, classification, order. It may not seem that these words belong to art, but really, they do. Artists and art historians have for years been changing the orders, the recipes, rules, classifications and taxonomies of art and art histories. The changes from the art movement Impressionism to abstract is but one example.

Like scientists, artists have been creating hybrids and crossbreeding works. I, for example, mix all different kinds of water-based media in my work. I don’t t just stick to one kind of water based media in any of my works, which is why I call my work water based media rather than watercolors.

But if you order art or anything for that matter, you give the impression that there is an end to things. A bird is always classified as a bird. That never changes. But as I look at my bird feeders and my artwork, I see the variations of finches. I know they have no idea how they are classified, labeled or ordered and that some of them are mix and matched, just like I do with my water-based medias.

There is that ever slight variation of red heads, red breasts and beaks. But science is persistent and labels these variations. The question is whether that box is always closed and representing an ending or does that box remain open and constantly change?

Because they change and become the “other” to what is identified, change represents paradoxes, the “other” side to popular labeling.
I have said this before, but I like repeating it, things never end they just change.Change happens because there is always “the other” to everything.


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