Artists’ Explorations of ‘Aesthetic Language’ on Display in Seton Gallery

Brandon T. Bisceglia

Artists John Arabolos and Heidi Lewis Coleman took different approaches to arrive at oddly similar results. Those results are the


subject of their joint exhibit, called “Intuitive/Systemic Symmetries,” on display at the Seton Gallery in Dodds Hall until March 19. The opening reception for the exhibit will be held in the gallery March 1 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The pieces feature colorful abstract geometric shapes in kaleidoscopic patterns. Some have a three-dimensional quality, while others are highly textured.

“It’s an interesting fragmentation,” said Interim Gallery Director Laura Marsh. “It takes a lot to move through all of the pieces.”

According to the gallery’s web page, both artists began their work as an investigation into the basis of a “universal aesthetic language.” They came at the question from opposite angles, though.

Arabolos is a “professional designer and artist in residence” at UNH, according to his biography. He is also a member of the Silvermine Arts Guild in New Canaan and a registered interior designer in Connecticut.

Arabolos used an algorithmic approach, taking patterns from nature that have a chaotic but “self-similar” quality. He then imposed symmetry upon these otherwise random patterns. He was inspired by principles from chaos theory, which shows that minor variations in a complex system will lead to vastly different outcomes.

Coleman, a juried member of the National Association of Women Artists and the Silvermine Guild of Artists, used mixed media to deconstruct her own “invented language” of abstract texts created via automatic writing. She also incorporates principles from the Buddhist art form of mandalas, repeating circular patterns that hinge around a single focal point.

Marsh said Arabolos and Coleman worked independently. Yet their works, integrated together on the walls of Seton Gallery, seamlessly blend into one cohesive exhibit, rich in depth and color.