Chaos Theory exhibit: Aliens, arts and culture, oh my

Published 11:18 am Monday, September 12, 2022

This is not your typical art show, but then again anyone who has visited any one of the dozen or so previous “Chaos Theory” exhibits knows to expect the unexpected. (If this were a video script, art direction would read: Cue theme music from “The Twilight Zone.”)

The Chaos Theory Art Show — an art show about pop culture, the atomic age and the unknown — opened earlier this month and runs through Nov. 5 at Henning Cultural Center in Sulphur.

The chaos theory is the study of the apparently random and the discovery of repeating patterns. Even the slightest change in variables can create a significant event.

Kat Godsey, Henning Cultural Center creative director, agreed it is a show that some might describe as  “out of the ordinary.”

Submissions for a show with the subtitle “pop culture, atomic age and the unknown” swings wide the door for artist submissions, and that uncertainty about what to expect serves as a great tease to museum visitors to find their own touchpoint, random though it may be. The sub-subtitle of the show this year is Atomic Age/Alien Invasion, but the art doesn’t necessarily have an alien lurking or highlight vintage atomic graphics to make the cut.

“The unspoken challenge is to find order in the chaos,” Godsey said. “I’ve seen so many wonderful submissions this year. Over 30 Louisiana and Texas artists will be included in the show.”

At the time of the interview with Living Magazine, Godsey had just unpacked something she described as a 21-inch by 26-inch window with a calico print curtain, and at its focal point, an alien. (Some things will need to be seen in person to understand Godsey’s excitement.)

The show offers plenty to enjoy, whether that enjoyment means responding on a visceral level to the artist’s skill or style, appreciating the humor, understanding the subcontext or quickly moving on to the next piece in the hope that it will be more engaging. Art appreciation is highly subjective, and chaos theory/pop culture, atomic age and the unknown/atomic age/alien invasion is a particular cultural romp.

“As far as I know, there’s not another show like this,” Godsey said.

Chaos Theory got its start in 2008 when Tom Trahan, the Brimstone Historical Society’s executive director and another creative type — both cartoon and monster movie buffs — were brainstorming for something that would appeal not only to those who appreciate traditional art — and they do — but also something that would appeal to “dorks like us,” Trahan said.

The exhibit is free to attend and hosted by the Brimstone Historical Society and Sulphur Parks and Recreation and supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, as administered by the Arts & Humanities Council of SWLA. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Henning Museum is located at 923 Ruth St. in Sulphur. Hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m. To find out more, call 337-527-0357.