Noun: The process of atrophying or state of having atrophied.
Verb: (Of body tissue or an organ) to waste away, especially as a result of the degeneration of cells, or become vestigial during evolution. ‘The calf muscles will atrophy’. Gradually decline in effectiveness or vigour due to underuse or neglect. ‘The imagination can atrophy from lack of use.’
Noun: entropy; plural noun: entropies; symbol: S
Physics: a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system. ‘The second law of thermodynamics says that entropy always increases with time’. Lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder. Information theory: a logarithmic measure of the rate of transfer of information in a particular message or language.
Living with aphasia — a condition that can impact the ability to communicate — the artist’s mother Jennifer regularly uses the words atrophy and entropy as placeholder words in written and verbal conversation. Beginning in the studio with these two words, Darcey Bella Arnold tracks and drifts through family histories, artworks, and linguistics to form a body of research that arises from these terms. With touchpoints in Ferdinand de Saussure’s Structural Linguistics of thought and sound, the oddity of René Magritte’s image treachery, typography of Mutlu Çerkez, the orange arc of Ellsworth Kelly, Louise Bourgeois’s Sainte Sebastienne, pedagogical visual languages (the daughter of teachers) and the elasticity of language in concrete poetry, the practice of research informs Arnold’s painting and sculptural works.
This research is a way of filling the body of the artist with the resonances that move through atrophy and entropy. The artist’s practice provides a methodology for processing these embodiments through a painting and sculptural logic that enacts a measure of disorder.
The exhibition is accompanied by If a canvas is feeling and a page is th〇ught a text written by Gertrude Curator in Residence Tim Riley Walsh.
A Measure of Disorder is supported by the City of Yarra 2022 Annual Grants program.
Gertrude Glasshouse is generously supported by Michael Schwarz and David Clouston.