Thursday, July 30, 2009


Elemental Oil on linen 50 x 95 cm 2009

In this new painting above I have tried to capture the essences of earth, air and water. I have used my much loved tree-of-life to suggest a vascular energy within what appears to be an ambiguous landscape. The vibrant red 'clouds' spill red and blue 'rain', both woven into the fabric of the 'sky' in a startling pattern. I like the idea of a sky revealing its elemental energy normally unseen by the naked human eye of eye ball and pupil. My mind's eye always 'sees' the normally unseen. To wonder is the spark which ignites the imagination. Maybe viewers who look at my work will wonder and come up with their own mind's eye 'sights'? As I have written before on this BLOG I do not believe I complete my paintings, because I know every conversation a painting stumulates, whether with others or with oneself, provides a completion. Hence there is the possibility of multiple completions.

In a way I have to distance myself from my work ...and I am comfortable with this. I also believe that by distancing myself from 'owning' a completion, I just might save my work from the perils of didacticism. One of these perils is the blinding of the mind's eye and thus the death of wonder. I have previously writen about wonder @

I chose red for the clouds and the strips of 'rain' to indicate a potency, not just in the obvious benefits of rain and water to the Earth and its inhabitants, but also in the rich metaphor water provides for us. This is where my interest in the vast/intimate-global/local-macro/micro enters the painting. Water has an ability to exist in a vast mass, but also to be reduced to droplets, mist, steam. It can seep into intimate spaces where space does not seem to obviously exist. It flows and its 'currency' is a metaphor for concepts of movement and progression, but also value in all of its conotations. I believe fluidity is an important aspect of perspective in this increasingly globalised world in which we live locally.

I have written about the many meanings of 'currency' before on this BLOG @ and

I'd like to direct readers to a few interesting Blogs or websites I have discovered recently

Cheers, Kathryn

Thursday, July 23, 2009


                                                 Love Puzzle Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm unframed 2003

                                                        Jigsaw Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm unframed 2003


Jigsaw and Love Puzzle are two works on paper from a larger series of work centred around the bride. These two paintings belong to a subset of about 5-6 paintings each appropriating Titian's famous painting Sacred and Profane Love which is a bridal portrait, but unusual for the time as the husband is not present. Venus, the God of Love, hovers with a distracted Cupid focused not on anyone else but on playing. The young bride gazes out of the painting but not at the viewer who wonders what lies behind her eyes. These three characters are placed against a beautiful pastorale scene. Venus's drapes indicate some kind of action yet the remainder of the painting is measured and contemplative. One wonders about love and its expression in the sixteenth century. And we also wonder about love and its expression in the 21st century!

I am really fond of this series of paintings, so I thought they deserved a posting.

This link will take you to an image of Titian's Sacred and Profane Love


Thursday, July 16, 2009


                              One oil on linen 90 x 200 cm 2009
This is the painting I have been working on for the last couple of months and now it is ready for the conversations which will provide its [possible] multiple completions. I have decided to call the painting 'One'. I wanted to create a work which simultaneously captured vastness and intimacy through revealed patterns. I have used the tree-of-life motife to create a 'map' which illustrates connectivity within difference ie: the connectivity being fundamental similarities which underly life [which includes death].

An article in The Guardian newspaper entitled 'Can Artists Save The World', by Paul Arendt struck me as timely. The article discusses the plethora of art, in the broadest sense, which deals with 'issues' such as the environment and climate change. He says, 'Artists' attempts tend to fall into two categories. There is the celebratory work reminding us how nice nature is; and there is the dystopian approach, which paints a stark picture of humanity's future.'

I have thought about this question of 'issue' driven art for awhile. Readers of my BLOG would recognise that at one level I am a quiet activist, but I am very careful to steer well clear of the didacticism I perceive in a lot of contemporary culture. For example I do not see the point in recreating or reminding people of disaster when the popular media does such a great job at it. Some contemporary art is trapped in an unwitting complicity with the popular media which stalls art's potential potency to penetrate the psyche at deep levels. Some of this 'dystopian' imagery falls prey to 'black' decor desires, and thus propels itself to what is considered the unforgivable fate of the 'pretty picture' ie: decoration!

I have written on this BLOG before about my thoughts on 'positive or celebratory' art. All may not be as it seems! Modern aptitudes in deciphering symbols, meaning and context are scarily limited especially as visual literacy skills are determined or honed by mass media and didacticism [especially in a lot of children's literature]. I am aware that there is a 'pretty picture' element in the artworld. However, I choose to paint what could be called utopian images, but with a conscious acknowledgement that disaster, pain, suffering exist or are all immanent. By consciously eliding the negative, it exists in absentia in my work.

'Reminding us how nice nature is...' is not my goal. Simple 'reminder' is not effective or potent because it does not necessarily cause change either within or without. I hope my work engenders, through the conversations it stimulates with oneself or others, a potential for discovery of something new. As readers of my BLOG are aware, I am intensely interested in perspective especially as a metaphor for how we view ourselves and others. The possibility of finding new perspectives and/or experiencing multiple perspectives simultaneously are far more exciting... and scarey than simple 'reminder'. Living locally in an increasingly globalised world is also exciting and scarey....but heightened perspectival abilities will make the dance of distance between the global and local far more fun and productive.

Can artists save the world? No artists alone cannot save the world, but maybe art's agency can contribute to the collective endeavour through stimulating the kind of wonder and imagination that uncovers new ways of doing things. Where does 'reminder' of good or bad fit here?

Now to my MUM, Elsie Brimblecombe who is having a solo exhibition called 'Invisible Cities' inspired by Italo Calvino's book by the same name. The exhibition will be at the Upfront Club, 31 Maple St, Maleny, Queensland, Australia opening August 27 @ 6 pm. The exhibition will continue until September 22.

Below is one of my Mum's paintings The City of Euphemia. It is acrylic on canvas and about 60 x 40 cm.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Shared Destinies Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm

Detail of yet un-named oil on linen painting 90 x 200 cm
In today's Weekend Australian newspaper there is an article [page 4] ' Author Puts New Slant On Culture' by Rosemary Sorenson about a new book called The Lamb Enters The Dreaming by La Trobe University research fellow Robert Kenny. I will be very interested to read this book, because if it is as described in the article, it departs from the 'tired debate' surrounding the 'history wars' where strongly held 'right or left wing perspectives' breath almost inpenetratable distance into difference. University of Queensland Professor of Australian Studies and Cultural History, David Carter is quoted with a comment about the book which I found very exciting. After suggesting that if there can be acceptance of a notion that white and Aboriginal history is not all about 'exploitation' then this history is leading, "...towards a history of entwinement and entaglement."
'Entwinement and entaglement' surely mean something is shared. As I read these two words I thought of a particular painting I completed in 2006 called 'Shared Destinies'. When I painted this image I was thinking about how so many different cultures share history and thus also share destinies. If we share destinies there is an imperative to be compassionate towards each other, otherwise the journey together can be less than pleasant, as history amply illustrates. Readers of my BLOG will know that I have a couple of paintings with shared history-type titles.
The painting above called 'Shared Destinies' has two tree-of-life motifs which seem to to wrap each other. Their limbs and twigs extend beyond the painting to show a future and a past. They exist in a universe representing time which of course is also shared through concurrency. After all, time is not literally devisible and indeed may not really exist!
The second image is a detail of a just completed painting. I have written about this work on the BLOG before when I started it a couple, if not a few months ago. And now it is finally completed...or at least I have done my bit. Readers of this BLOG would know that I do not believe I actually complete my work. Each conversation, whether with oneself or with others, completes my work. Thus there is the potential for multiple completions.
I have yet to give this 90 x 200 cm painting a title. I know what I want to encapsulate, but have not come up with the right words yet. The reason I have only a detail is that my camera cannot take images of large work, so I now have to wait until it is dry before I can take it to a photographer.
But, getting back to the theme of this post...this latest painting is a continuation of my interest in embracing similarity rather than just difference. From a vast distance of space or time many differences are not noticeable often giving light to similarity if not sameness. A human body seen from a great distance is not discernible with regards to sex, colour, culture etc, yet the basic identifying body parts and shape we all share in common identify it as a human.
This new painting has a wave like appearance of colour. Whilst there are different colours there is a fluidity which I think portrays an 'entwinement and entaglement' suggesting a human-race shared history and future=destiny.
I believe compassion is a key to examining history with a different perspective. I will be interested to read Robert Kenny's book to see if a compassionate quality exists between and in his words. I believe, Kevin Rudd's Apology to the Australian Aborigines has opened the doors for compassion to be mutually given and felt. Sympathy, as I have said before on this BLOG, can emotionally colonise both the giver and the receiver giving rise to hierarchies which can become dangerously entrenched, thus stagnating life circumstances and history.
When I get the photo of the painting I will upload it to this BLOG.
And this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert is brilliant...and absolute must.

Monday, July 06, 2009


Living With Distance Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm 2002

Where Are We? Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm 2002

Over the last month I have had wonderful opportunities to catch up with friends from the past. One gathering was with three friends from High School . We have not been together since 1975. Another gathering was this week with three friends from Goondiwindi where I lived when I was married [now nearly ten years ago].
Needless to say in each case there was a lot of catching up. But at both gatherings people commented on the fact that even though we do not keep in contact via email, Facebook, Twitter or other online or virtual connection, our conversations fell into a comfortableness that time has not eroded. My friends from High School commented that even though it had been over 30 years since we had been together, we talked about and told each other things which we may not even tell new friends. This was because sometimes the history explaining our reactions, beliefs, upbringing is too complex or time consuming to tell. As old friends we were each a part of the others' histories thus rendering explanations about reactions to events and happenings as unnecessary. This kind of friendship is very special, because time and frequency of contact do not influence the links.
So, inevitibly, at both gatherings we touched upon the high frequency of contact via Facebook, Twitter, Texting etc, people [esp young people] seemed to be hooked on. In one discussion we agreed that the busy frenzy of always being contactable is exhausting. We did not come up with any solutions, except to agree that as very busy women uninterrrupted time alone is like gold.
There is a lot to write about with regards to constant connection. But, I will depart from this subject a little to reference my recent experiences in terms of my interest in perspective. I have noticed that as I get older conversations with friends can become far more inimate in terms of life story telling. This is probably because as a person ages the years are filled with more and more experiences which cause reflection, changes in attitude, shock, happiness, sadness and so on. Looking back over life the perspective of time can enrich conversations, erode prejudices, awaken confidence, engender humour and peel away useless beliefs and attitiudes. All of these then change the perspective potential of the future
The two paintings above are older works both painted in 2002. Living With Distance is a bride seemingly floating above the Earth with her long veil wrapping the Earth's curvature. The title explains the physical distance of the bride, who is actually a country bride who has a life lving in remote rural Australia as her future. The title also suggests that emotional distance can corrupt the quality of a relationship, so that one or both partners feel adrift.
Where Are We? plays with multiple horizons, in this case there are two. The mountains are metaphors for overcoming adversity, so in each horizon there exists the potential of the past and the future.
PS. Have a look at and keep looking at this site. Looks like I will be exhibiting there in March next year!!!