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.


moneythoughts said...

I like both of these paintings. While I think I could spot your paintings anywhere, each one is unique in itself.

I must admit that while I once studied British Colonial History in graduate school, and know a little about the origins of your country, I am not at all knowledgeable about what is going on now between the Aborigines and the rest of the population. Your country is a mix of races as is mine. People should be taught how to live together, but unfortunately, sometimes the teachers are not enlightened enough to do the job. There are those that exploit our difference for either money, like talk radio in America, or for political gain. Considering that we have 300 million in the USA, and people from all over the world, perhaps we are not doing too bad a job of keeping the peace among ourselves. If everyone had a hobby or interest, that they could lose themselves in, no one would have time to hate.

Audubon Ron said...

Coral Reef
A coral reef is a place that provides shelter for many animals in a complex habitat.

Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox said...

Dear Fred,
Thanks for your comments. I was interested in your sentence, 'People should be taught how to live together, but unfortunately, sometimes the teachers are not enlightened enough to do the job.' I agree with this and it fits into something I want to write about in the near future ie: didacticism vs education. So much art, literature and film [although less though] falls prey to people wanting to teach a lesson about a current issue whether it be abuse, racism, alcoholism etc. Yet, the outcomes are impotent because the aim is to 'teach a lesson' not to open the heart to something I will call enlightenment. So many childrens' stories which win prizes lack wonder, rich sources of self reflection and so on. And I also agree that exploitation of difference for money or political gain compromises the growth of compassionate entaglement.

Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox said...

Hi Ron,

The idea of a coral reef, with reference to my work, has been suggested to me before and I do like it. Any notion of 'landscape' [in the broadest sense eg: our emotions create an 'emotional landscape'] is a seminal source of my inspiration... and a coral reef is a landscape. I had not thought precisely about a coral reef as a metaphor, but you are totally right and I love it.

Also, thanks for the comments on my other two works, particularly 'Self Portrait'. I am quite fond of that work and I am glad you liked my heart!

Thanks, Kathryn