Dana Harel | Capillary Waves
On: The Mathematical Nature of Nature
Capillary wave – a small wind wave, or ripples, appear when wind blows on calm waters, quickly fading when it stops. They also form when a small stone is thrown into water. They are a small-scale, handsome show of something found in nature in a wide range, at the other end of which, are ocean storm waves. The same forces produce this and that, and also, the same forces that allow the formation of ripples, enable the formation of soap bubbles or water droplets standing on a leaf.
Black droplets pool like rain drip across a pool with black water, spreading gentle ripples. Surrounding it is an ecclesiastical whiteness, delicate, peeling, broken. The contrast of colors and states of material do not disturb the harmonic aura. They may even produce it. Silence resonates in the space, you can hear the drops dripping. We, hearing this sound not for the first time here in the gallery, can feel what we felt like in our memory. It is an invitation to converge into our memory and connection to nature, even though everything around us is patently unnatural and has been stripped, cleaned, and peeled down to its most basic form. Undergoing adaptations and transformations until coming to a halt, as a Perspex pool, aquarium pump and plumbing, white industrial paint and glue, LED light, TV screen, and silvery sequin fabric.
Looking at Harel’s work arouses thoughts about states of order and chaos, and the ways they are connected. How sometimes, small ripples can break gently into transparent side panels, and in others accumulate and echo each other until a storm forms at sea. Even this seemingly chaotic state of disorder is contained, is inside the order. The wave is the same wave.
Harel takes natural phenomena out of context, allowing them to become other things, and sometimes the opposite; enlists artificial and crude materials and gives them the appearance of natural creations. In this manner a random crystallization of matter can be such an astonishing thing, our minds producing underwater folds of land, an ocean floor, pages in a mushroom’s cap, or coral reefs. Spontaneous yet organized forms of surprising beauty, capable of conjuring deep emotions related, I feel, to man’s connection with nature and himself. They inspire curiosity to examine with a sensitive eye even the most accidental stains and cracks; A rhythm is repeated, in the dripping water or the appearance and disappearance of amorphous animals, over a black background. The beat is a comforting return to primordeal and early rhythms.
Light flutters across the water just like a sunbeam. Soil cracking under heat is reincarnated as white industrial paint left at the mercy of weather, humidity, and other forces exerted on it. A True-Morel mushroom with a cap resembling a honeycomb was immersed in black ink and stamped onto paper until the mushroom disintegrated and, with it, the image. It grows on stream banks, in fields, and in Kurkar (Calcarenite) soil. In the studio, formative beauty reveals a Rorschach stain; a calligraphic mark in a language spoken by mushrooms.
Salt formations twist like the Morel mushroom’s cap, scatter and build up like the earth and color’s cracks, reminding us that this particular aesthetic presented in this body of work, is everywhere. On one hand, it is a complete mathematical abstraction, and on the other, it materializes before our eyes in every landscape line and wherever we turn. This distinctly formative aesthetic is called “fractals”- a shape comprised of smaller copies of itself. It is found in snowflakes, bifurcations of tree branches and leaf arteries, broccoli and cauliflower, the body’s blood vessels, the shape of frost, coastlines, shell, pine cones and the shell of the Nautilus. This is where numbers meet nature and regularity organizes the world we are part of. It is a state of chaotic order, harmonious and beautiful, irregular and fragile.