Scene Fall Preview: Chaos Theory dives into world of art, toys, pop culture

Published 6:28 am Thursday, September 14, 2023

Each year, the Chaos Theory Exhibit delights. This year is no different. Expect feelings of nostalgia, a walk on the zany side, fun and provoking thought viewing  toy history and collectibles to hand-crafted dolls and works from over 30 Southwest Louisiana and East Texas artists.

Chaos theory. The study of the apparently random or seemingly unpredictable to discover repeating patterns, or to show how even the slightest change in variables can make a big difference. Chaos Theory – the show –  gives Henning Cultural Center gallery goers the chance to do just that. It opens Thursday, Sept. 18 at the Henning Museum, 923 Ruth St., Sulphur, and runs through November 9. Opening reception, 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 28.

For 14 years, the show has been broadly themed. Last year, it was Pop Culture, The Atomic Age and the Unknown. Kat Godsey, Henning Cultural Center director, said it swung wide the door for submissions. This year she has removed the hinges by asking for entries under the following umbrella: chaos, pop culture, nostalgia and toys.

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“Got art?” Get it in a gallery,” Godsey said. “This is a chance for artists to have their work reviewed by a wider audience and get that gallery experience without the stress of a solo show, and it’s a chance for gallery visitors to explore a diverse world of artistry, engage with local talent and discover their own unique connections to the vibrant art community.”

The show offers plenty to enjoy, whether that enjoyment means responding on a visceral level to the artist’s skill or style, finding 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 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 cultural center’s executive director and another creative type – both cartoon and monster movie buffs – were brainstorming for something that would appeal to not only those who appreciated traditional art but also something that would appeal to “dorks like us,” Trahan said.

Godsey said Trahan brings a personal touch to this year’s show.

“He’ll be sharing his own cherished collection of vintage He-man toys, GI Joes and more. His passion for collecting has been with him since childhood. We’re also thrilled to present an extensive LEGO collection from a local enthusiast, Alex Reeser. He’ll not only share his LEGOs but also contribute to the historical aspect of the exhibit. Expect to find fascinating tidbits and insights into various toy lines from recent years.”

Combining these unique collections with works of over 30 artists from across Southwest Louisiana and Southeast Texas results in an immersive journey into the world of toys, pop culture and the delightful chaos that unites us all, according to Godsey.