Monday, April 26, 2010


                                                                            Becoming oil on linen 100 x 60 cm 2010

A multitude of ideas are going through my head at the moment. I am reading four books. Each one is providing inspiration. Regular readers of my BLOG know that books do spark off visual images for me. The last book I wrote about was Dr. Norman Doidge's 'The Brain That Changes Itself'. I have read it twice. Here's a link to the post I wrote about the painting above Becoming which was inspired by Norman Doidge's book.  
Below is an example of the type of sketches I do when I am reading, or when I am sitting on the ferry with time to contemplate everything from the books I am reading to things I hear...and so on. The sketches below are in a small art diary I keep in my handbag. These particular images are a result of my contemplations about 'The Brain That Changes Itself'. Regular readers of my BLOG will notice the tree...tree-of-life. This archetypal motif is one of my visual guides as it seems to link everything in a systemic way as well as with some kind of resonating consciousness or 'knowing'.


At the moment, one of the books I am reading is 'Our Final Century' by Martin Rees, British Astronomer Royal, Lord Rees of Ludlow and Master of Trinity College Cambridge*. I read an article about him in the Australian Financial Review [Friday 23 April] by Paul Broks and was fascinated enough to go looking for his books. I found 'Our Final Century' at Borders on Friday afternoon and have been engrossed ever since.

Regular readers of my BLOG, who know that I explore the positive potency of humankind, might be surprised that I would be attracted to a book which 'paints' a multitude of potential apocalyptic events for the future, with a suggestion that humankind and/or the planet might not survive the 21st century. Despite the apocalyptic nature of the potential scenarios there is always hope and as Rees comments, the most amazing developments are not normally predicted or predictable.

The history of science fascinates me. This fascination started as an 8-10 year old when I devoured biographies of famous scientists. It was propelled by Prof. Mac Hamilton in 1980 when I took a year long subject at the University of Queensland, called 'The History Of Science'. This subject was a history of the philosophy of science and was the most interesting and stimulating subject I studied. I also grew up surrounded by technology, because my Father is a HAM radio man and we had every gadget possible...Dad often making them eg: our first tv in the early 6os [before any of our neighbours!].

As I have written before, I am very interested in the process of consiously eliding, in my paintings, that which I believe has a neutering influence on our psyche. Images of dystopian gloom petrify me and petrification is of no use to anyone, because it means you're stuck and impotent. Plus, there are enough images of distaster and dystopian gloom in the mass media, in film etc! By consciously eliding the negative it is always present 'in absentia', thus hovering as a reminder, but not stupifying or petrifying us into neutered vessels. The conscious elision also discounts any accusations of rose tinted naivity and blind ignorance.

The agency [not role, as it is too prescriptive] of art is to remind us of potential, one way or another, and I have chosen to focus on exploring ways to connect people by collasping the distance of difference to find and embrace similarities. If people are connected the potential for brewing disaster via deranged fundamentalist/terrorist groups or a 'single aberrant personality' [Rees] are diminished. Rees suggests this in his book [chapter 6]. Art's catalytic agency to stimulate conversation within oneself or with others is manifestly important.

The next three images are more 'idea' sketches. The first two are a  result of  flashes and contemplations stimulated by Martin Rees's book. The last image has three quick sketches which were inspired by another book I am reading at the moment. This book is an interesting balance to 'Our Final Century' ...and it is 'Prayer Works' by Rosemary Ellen Guiley. These sketches will influence and inform future paintings. As readers can see, the transcultural/relgious tree-of-life will be a continuing visual guide. When reading both of these books the image of the tree seems to root itself into the propositions and scenarios posed by both authors.

* Rees, Martin Our Final Century; Will Civilisation Survivie The Twenty-First Century, Arrow Books, 2003, UK
In Maleny opening Thursday 20 May 6-8 pm. The exhibition PRESENCE will continue until Tuesday June 13. @ the hippest place in town 'The UPFRONT CLUB'. This small exhibition is a collection of my paintings from the last couple of years that 'speak' about presence. Maleny is a great place and it is where my parents retired over 20 years it is a bit like going 'home'.



Kay said...

interesting concepts...I loved science and art as a child..but haven't read much in later years..although I do watch a lot of public tv when there are shows about scientific theory..I really liked to contemplate string theory and other things I have no training in! I like that you use your readings as idea starters for your art..

moneythoughts said...

I like this post with the sketch books. It tells something about how you put your ideas on paper so to speak.