Research Statement

Robert Najlis

Research Statement

Our connection to the larger web of life reveals a permeability whereby all aspects of life touch and interconnect with each other. Human experience does not lie art the center of this complex network, which instead considers life as a whole. Cultivating our relationship to these processes of life can bring great pleasure, and also afford us essential perspective, as we understand our actions to echo throughout this living tapestry, just as it resonates through us.

One of my driving motivations is the question of the nature of reality and our place in it. Essential to this is whether objects in the world are imitations of divine, unchanging essences as in Plato’s theory of perfect forms, or if everything that exists emerges from immanent interactions as in the philosophies of Baruch Spinoza and Gilles Deleuze. This was considered by Deleuze to be the most burning question of our time. It causes us to consider fundamental aspects of existence, which we can see in our response to the issues of today, including environmental change and the relationships between different cultures.

My work grows through motifs that build on one another, just as the smallest elements of life combine to create a complex emergent body. Space and rhythm dance as line and plane combine in permeable devices, pushing and pulling space back and forth in time. Color moves us and shifts in the resonant space that it creates. The interweaving complex of presences breathe through these movements and in turn seek to connect and vibrate with us.

Through my experience in artificial intelligence research and complex adaptive systems, I have developed a method of composition based on the interactions of local maxima and minima in an emergent search space. This is a method that is at the same time, not all-over painting, and yet also not a hierarchical method. There is a pluralism to this method as it evolves over a shared search space. I engage with differing scales, and local interactions from which global phenomena emerge. The emergent properties show in the permeable nature of the spaces and structures that arise. This allows us to question the notions of self and independence when viewed in an interconnected, interdependent environment.

I published my first book on color movement theory in 2021, with a follow-up book coming this year, and a book on pictorial space already under way. Painting, and sharing my knowledge, are both fundamental to my artistic life. All of these books are influenced by both modern science as well as artwork from different cultures. As the world becomes more intercultural, integrating these ideas deeply into our understanding of art will become increasingly important. It is essential to understand the artistic thinking of different peoples on a deep level. This will open our understanding of different ways of considering the world.

I aim to engage the viewer with considerations of who we are fundamentally, and how we engage with life. Questions of immanence, permeability, and culture are among the most essential facets of our knowledge systems, and examination of them can allow for new modes of thinking