“Proclivity” examines force of habit through painting, sculpture, video

Have you ever thought about how you began a habit?

Let’s say you bite your nails. Do you remember the very first time you put your finger in your mouth and chewed down? What did the action offer you in the moment—a way to channel your frustration or anger or anxiety into a physical activity? Does the habit affect you now? Do you ever consider how your nail-biting could reflect your deep-hidden beliefs?


O.I.N.D (PT 4) by Christopher Mark, 2016, 25”x27”, acrylic and wood on lasered MDF


Proclivity, the latest exhibition at Non-Fiction Gallery opening Friday, May 27, takes a look at how people form habits and how they affect daily life and shape decisions. Comprised of work by Emily Beasley, Thomas Flynn II, Christopher Mark, and Katie Smith-Day, the responses range from standard to deep, and the variety of media pushes the diversity even further.


10/31/2015 by Emily Beasley, 2016, 36″ x 30″, oil on wood panel


“We chose the theme because each of our works explore the tendencies and habitual patterns of daily life,” explains Flynn. “Everyone develops different tendencies and habitual patterns of everyday life.”

Beasley’s art is inspired by one of her own habits: accidentally taking photos with her phone.

“Through this body of work, she has chosen to draw attention to these ephemeral, chance moments in her life,” says Flynn.

Beasley creates oil paintings based on her accidental photos that look almost exactly like the real thing. “10/31/2015” is the most photo-realistic, and mesmerizing, depiction—the shock of color against a dark background has an upward slant that gives the painting movement and depth.


Screw Eggs by Thomas Flynn II, 2016, each 1.75”x1.75”x3.5”, wax and screws


Flynn’s work “explores societal tendencies and the individual’s tension towards these inclinations,” he says. His installations use a lot of hardware, like screws and a saw brake, which appears to convey the idea that humans are just parts of a machine.

“Screw Eggs” shows three screws in wax eggs, standing like a recently hatched chicken, and one egg sideways with the screws free. It’s a fresh take on the idea of breaking free from society’s habits, and the machine metaphor adds a dynamic layer.

“Christopher examines shared characteristics and energies presented via personalities through shapes and other forms,” says Flynn. A woodworker, Mark creates twisting shapes out of plywood and MDF board and paints them with acrylic or house paint.

“O.I.N.D.” is a flurry of bright colors atop an intricately-cut piece of wood. While the theme is harder to conceptualize in this piece, it seems to show the ebb and flow of life with the smooth lines contrasted against sharp turns and jags.


Still image from “And The Two Shall Become One Flesh” by Katie Smith-Day


Smith-Day’s work uses simple materials referencing the body to show important beliefs.

“These belief systems that she explores are ingrained into thought patterns that affect daily decision making,” Flynn says.

Stills from Smith-Day’s “And The Two Shall Become One Flesh” show a person stitching a white cloth with red thread. The person, whose head is cut off by the frame, is wearing a blue shirt and has white paint splattered on their knees and fingers. The stills convey calmness, which could indicate routine, but it’s tricky to glean the meaning from just a few images.

From the preview artwork, this exhibition looks to be visually interesting and deeply introspective.


Proclivity opens at Non-Fiction Gallery on Friday, May 27 with a reception from 6 – 9pm.

Rachael Flora

Author: Rachael Flora

Rachael is a recent Armstrong grad and works as the Events editor at Connect Savannah. She's an Ohio native and likes being somewhere a bit warmer. In her spare time, she likes to read classic novels, perfect her photography, and watch Netflix in bed.

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