Reflections - Incidental : Accidental : Chance : Control : Disassociation : Deliberate / by Ally McGinn

The incidental is defined as something that occurs, either event or object, that is not the focus of activity. It is something that happens while we are doing something else.
In my practice it is most commonly found in the objects i use and reframe. I collect the incidental and find aesthetic value in its consideration.



The incidental is neutral. It is neither positive or negative because it is unconsidered. It is the remainder.


The accidental is negative. In this context it is evidence of accidents, often paint. Most often on floors and walls.


Chance is found in the space between incident and intent. It can be predictable, studied through probabilities, although often not in my practice. It is remarkably hard to force chance, this should not be as shocking as it is. We seem able to visually recognise chance in painting. However, i'm finding as my practice shifts more towards the placement of objects, chance becomes more hidden.


Control is the opposite of chance. Control, in various forms, is a somewhat natural state for humans. We organise and impose control in order to understand and form our realities.

In art, control is mostly individual, but can be made more collaborative. Instructions are one voice speaking to many. Artworks that invite interaction from the audience are more akin to two voices communicating. A dialogue.


Dissassiciation. This word is included as the more i focus on the incidental, accidental and chance elements in art the more disassociated I can become from the work (or at least I can attempt a level of disassociation, everything about the work, from the matter of it's existence to its form, relates to me. I'm realising that more and more, and it's freeing.)

This dissociative step, and questioning of authorship serve to de-emphasise the artists ego and the notion of the artistic genius, the further the dissociation the more the materials speak to the viewer.
I am beginning to balance dissociation with aesthetic considerations of form, and am subsequently realising the fallacy of disassociation.



The most focussed of these words is ‘incidental’.

The incidental is a big part of my work. There are a few other groups in this series of reflection that will come under the umbrella of the incidental.