Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Seeping Into The Intimate Vastness Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm 2008

On Wednesday of this week I made a presentation at the annual King's College Foundation business breakfast . King's is a men's residential college at the University of Queensland. http://www.kings.uq.edu.au/ I was able to choose my topic which was 'Perspective: In a Global World In Which We Live Locally'. I spoke about art's agency as catalyst for experiencing perspective or multi perspectives. I suggested that this is achieved by inviting the viewer to literally move back and forth [replicating the moves an artist makes], but also to stimulate conversation whether it be with others or internally with oneself. Conversation is a 'movement' back and forth as participants 'see' and hear another person's point of view, perspective or story.

I suggested that in this increasingly globalised world in which we live locally, it is imperative that we all appreciate the vast scope perspectival dexterity has in helping us negotiate this contemporary life. With this kind of dexterity comes compassion for ourselves and others.

Space and Time Oil on linen 80 x 100 cm 2001

The elments needed to develop perspectival dexterity are things like imagination, judgment, confidence, open mindedness, empathy. Yet, the one element I see as the most pivotal is imagination, because it is imagination which allows us to put ourselves in another person's shoes.
I quoted JK Rowling from her speech The Fringe Benefits of Failure And The Importance Of Imagination made in 2008 for the Harvard Alumni Association, ' ‘Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.’

In the same speech KJ Rowling also said, ' The willingly unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.’ I used this to augment the imperative we have to grasp skills which allow us all to live freely, fulfilled and compassionately in an increasingly global world in which we individually live locally. I suggested that those who cannot imagine how to embrace the contemporary 'stage' which exists between the 'wings' of the local and global are destined to see more monsters because fear grips them. One only has to think of the regimes [amongst others] in North Korea and Zimbabwe where unhealthy self interest and conscious ignorance of the world outside have created the kind of monstrous events and fears that have been and are indeed hard to imagine.

I have uploaded the two images above, one painted in 2001 and the other in 2008 because they are both about water. In my presentation at King's College I used my series on water [previously written about on this blog] to illustrate a couple of things. One was that water and its use are local and global issues and easily understood as such. The other is that water has the capability of being a vast mass yet also a drop, thus providing a living example of fluid connection between the micro/local and macro/global . Water can seep into the smallest and most intimate of spaces, but a deluge has a tipping point where is can become a saviour or a disaster. With all of this in mind our bodies are also %70 water.

Seeping Into The Intimate Vastness is an ambiguous 'landscape'. The tree-of-life seems to embrace or wrap the 'scene' with its vein like red branches. Its vascular-like appearance is 'Life' and indeed water systems, whether natural or manmade, are life giving. There is a general feeling of wetness and water about this painting. In the flesh it also has an almost 3d appearance as if things are swollen or sodden.

Space and Time painted in 2001 reveals an earlier interest in water. Sheets of red 'rain' fall from the sky on the edges of multiple horizons. I lived for many years in western Queensland where rain would tantalisingly appear at the edge of sight. This was particularly evident when driving west along lonely highways with the distance colliding with me and my car, but never reached.


moneythoughts said...

The juried art show deadline is August 1st. I have the photographs of the 3 pieces already printed as well as an artist bio and statement. I plan to mail my entry sometime in July.

I love your new paintings. Your work is so different from anything I have ever seen here in the states. You have a unique vision, and it is a beautiful one.

Talking about water, I have wondered why with all the technology we have today, why we can't move water from place to place as well as the Romans? When you stop and think of all the money our government wastes on nonsense, we could build aqueducts across our country.

If I get a piece accepted in the art show, I will mention it on a Saturday.

Sam Holland said...

Once again I am awed by your art but even more by your interpretations...

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