An Unnamed Need: Pattern and Beauty in Contemporary Art

More information on the artists in the exhibition

More information on the artworks in the exhibition

Curatorial Statement

“An unnamed need for order, for rhythm, for form, which three words are opposed to chaos and nothingness.”
- Czeslaw Milosz


We desire beautiful things, and yet we discount them. Beauty has been so exploited as a means of manipulation in contemporary society that we have learned to mistrust it. Consequently, we denigrate qualities that create the experience of beauty: pattern and ornament are scoffed at as mindless; carefully crafted objects are dismissed as elitist; lush and pristine surfaces are considered superficial. We have allowed the abuse of beauty to blind us to its richness of meaning.

The works assembled here bring that richness back before our eyes, and compel us to contemplate all that beauty can encompass: the fluid boundaries among natural and artificial; eye, mind, and body; self and other; form and nothingness.