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Joanne Hus

About the art

I grew up with a lot of chaos and found solace in mathematics. By the time I graduated from high school, I had taken every math course offered, from Algebra and Geometry to Functions and Calculus. Even in art school, I took Calc II and Calc III. The big appeal of math for me was its relentless logic, the binary of “works / doesn’t work.” There was such a pure order to it all which was the perfect antidote to the turmoil around me.

I have long been intrigued by the idea of random data informing a visual work, much as John Cage used the I Ching to compose music. In the series, “Random Acts of Beauty,” I use random data to generate works which appear to have some kind of pattern or meaning, but which in fact do not. I organize all these random data points into highly structured forms—which says more about me than perhaps I care to admit!—in order to tap into the human desire to see pattern, and to frustrate that desire. In this way, I invite both the viewer and myself to be more open to the unknown, to be more comfortable with chaos, and to question the need for order.

The actual process itself is very meditative, and the resulting works all have an element of calm to them. I never know what a piece will look like until it is done, and it is always a joy to watch it reveal itself.

About the process

For each piece in the series “Random Acts of Beauty,” I use an online resource to generate an array of random integers. I arbitrarily assign each number to represent a particular image variable—for example, big/small, black/white, circle/square. I draft a grid on paper or panel, and then “transcribe” what the random numbers represent. I sometimes make mistakes in transcription, and I incorporate these mistakes into the piece—another way to be open to chaos.

Because all the “thinking” happens before I start a piece, creating the piece itself is almost mindless. The rhythm of transcription induces a sense of calm, and indeed I have used this process as a meditation in moments of stress.

-Joanne Hus


  • 2017
    • Gallery 95, Beverly MA, “Artists of Porter Mill” group show
    • Tusinski Gallery, Rockport MA, pop-up group show (invitational)
    • Gallery 95, Beverly MA, “Holding Patterns” duo show with Mea Duke
    • West Elm, Burlington MA, pop-up show (invitational)
  • 2002, 2003
    • Ely Center of Contemporary Art, New Haven CT, juried group shows
    • Random Acts of Beauty I—the very first in this series!—
    • Installation piece at Fairfield U called “Woman’s Work”
  • 2001, 2002
    • Walsh Gallery, Fairfield University, Fairfield CT, juried student shows