Ordering the Cosmos
Charles Ogilvie and Daniel Crow
(Visited 30th Jan 2018)
A collaboration between C. Ogilvie and D. Crow over seven years brings Crow’s expertise in the world of Physics together with Ogilvie’s unique artistry in very varied media, scientific know-how and insight into outsider scientists. I’d not heard of outsider scientists before, though I have a longstanding interest in outsider artists. Many outsider artists have created universes in their homes, and alternative realities through visual art. These artists tend to be untrained and prolific.
Outsider scientists create their own scientific theories - again without the background of logic and learned methodology. Ogilvie has written a Phd on the subject and Crow receives emails on a weekly basis from people he never met before letting him know their discoveries. Apparently he can tell it’s an outsider scientist - or nonsense - when you can’t argue with it. Scientific theories can be argued and tested but the dreams from this alternative domain are impossible to challenge. Trump flashed across my mind (not actually flashed though sadly now I’ve pointed that out he has - eugh) and political / religious ideologies, along with other related extremes.
A collection of works from this collaboration are currently on display in a gallery run by Stowe Arts, Buckingham. Ogilvie has been making pots with the rigour of a true outsider artist over the last year and has become very proficient at it. 50 of his recent glazed pieces are assembled, with numbers that mean something I cannot decipher.
Despite knowing this artist for a number of years and talking about work together I never really understood what he does, only gleaning occasional nuggets of insight, the odd surprise and Aha! moment. Brexit means Brexit means Brexit. I attended their artists talk and found I still didn’t really know but had a more pronounced and condensed version of the previous experience from both artists / scientists. I did learn something, though I couldn’t say what.
Hopefully there will be more opportunities to see this work and learn about the theory and questions behind it that baffle, intrigue, entertain and that matter.
The excursion out to this show was all of those things too, it is in a very fancy place. Arriving at dusk with a near full moon was a surreal experience, trudging about in the mud taking in the stunning views and then exploring this body of work that seemed to explain everything and nothing at once.
Images from C. Ogilvie, more info. here: charlesogilvie.co.uk/portfolio_page/ordering-the-cosmos/