Creating new mythologies inspired by complexity theory

Ross Chaney

A multi-media artist

Biography

The mystic poet Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī wrote, "Unfold your own myth." Ross Chaney, a self-taught multi-media artist who works in video, installation, painting, drawing and digital imagery isn't just unfolding his own story; he's reimagining it along the way.

Chaney, an enrolled member of both the Osage tribe and Cherokee Nation, grew up in Oklahoma. During his childhood, he dealt with recurrent themes of loss, the challenges of fitting in and ultimately, self-discovery though self-expression, while his mother championed education as a way to rise above and not get lost in the fray. When he became the first Oklahoma University student to receive a scholarship to study in Japan, something about his experience in Kyoto beckoned him back. He received a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and Chaney says, it was "the key thing that set me free." He studied Japanese art, culture and language and earned two master's degrees by age 25.

Through all of these journeys, creative expression continued in Chaney's life. Now, wishing to use art as a change agent, Chaney is continually informed by complexity theory, trusting that each piece he starts will later take on a life of its own. He taps into his unconscious where he finds, creates and re-creates a codex of both ancient and contemporary symbols and marks. His fearless use of a bold color palette works to draw people nearer the subject matter. While some may find the marks simplistic upon first glance, a deeper examination reveals complex themes, issues and ideas being dissected and presented to the viewer encouraging them to be more aware, more involved and more sentient in their day-to-day life.

Chaney is a believer in the transformative power of art, in freedom of expression and in the power of intention. If you ask him what he hopes to accomplish by sharing his creations, his answer is succinct and strong: "It's unlimited. To be the change and to change the world."

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