Saturday, May 29, 2010


Royalties Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2010

June 1 is the date I said I would be back into my studio, after taking some time to gather myself and my thoughts following my exhibition FRISSON in March. But, I have been back into my studio a little bit lately to start some works on paper dealing with my ongoing interest in water. I have previously written quite a lot about this interest, but there is just so much to think about, especially when placed against a backdrop of current economic conditions, both domestic and international.

I am particularly thinking about the issues surrounding coal seam gas extraction in the Surat Basin where owners and operators of prime grazing and farming lands are currently negotiating with the mining companies which have prospecting rights. The issues of contaminated water, reduced underground aquifer levels, potential reduced water for grazing and farming needs, potential reduced land available for grazing and farming production [thus food!], potential land degradation and increased salinity levels, increased noise and dust, infrastructure capacity stress eg: roads, schools, increased traffic [particularly heavy vehicles] etc way heavily. Social issues such as rural camaraderie may be affected by the vagaries of deal making, resultant inuendo and secrecy. The social fabric of small rural communities means that everyone talks about eveyone else and knows, at least to some extent, what others are doing. I know! I have lived in small rural communities for nearly 40 years, having been born into a farming family outside Dalby, right in the middle of some of the richest and deepest top soil in the southern hemisphere. I then spent 18 years living in Goondiwindi, on the border of Queensland and New South Wales, with a population of around 5,000 people in the town and another 5,000 people in the surrounding districts.

Blue Gold Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2009

Dalby is smack bang in the middle of the coal seam gas bonanza. This is another reason why I am particularly interested in the huge shift in the focus of rural survival, the economic and the social outcomes. The quickened heart beat of change and worry is sensed when you place the local issues of the Surat Basin against the Australian Federal Government's announcement to impose a rent tax on the mining industry, the ferocious opposition to the rent tax from mining and affiliated companies plus the Federal Opposition and the immediate share price falls of mining and affiliated companies [which affects amongst other things, the retirement superannuation funds of ordinary Australians]. On the broader scale the macro economic conditions of our world are tortuously exacerbated by natural and manmade disasters, immanent battle to arms and the ongoing licking of wounds inflicted by the GFC.

Gee, we live in fantastic times! Regular readers might think I am being uncharacteristically negative and sombre. I don't see the world through rose tinted glasses or bury my head in the sand, but I am interested in trying to see, from both local and global perspectives, where emergent patterns of change are occurring. The plethora of disaster being experienced in the world, from financial and economic collapses to hurricanes and earth quakes, political tensions with fanatical nations to unforgiveable oil spills do remind us of reality. Financial undertakings cannot be about fantasy, increased natural disasters remind us to look after our planet, fanatical individual, groups and nations live and think differently and cannot be wished away via traditional logical means, and massive manmade disasters remind us that risk has a capital R.I.S.K and must be dealt with honestly and without bravado.

Truth Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2009

There was a flurry of interest last week about the announcement, by Craig Venter and his team, of the creation of synthetic life. Here's a link to the TED talk  However, this week I have not read much about this amazing development. But, this often happens with scientific discoveries. Why? I am not sure, but maybe the media decides another story is more saleable. In this case the iPad certainly must be a far more saleable story that the creation of synthetic life, because there's been plenty in the general media about the iPad.

But, back to being serious...the creation of synthetic life does pose risk [RISK] because, for example, in the hands of a mad person, who understood the scientific process, the world could be taken over by cell sized replicating synthetic warriors that could, for instance, eat us from the inside out, take over our minds and so on [I will let you imagine!]. However, on the upside synthetic cell sized replicating life could be developed to 'eat up' oil spills. Craig Venter mentions a number of positive uses and applications for synthetic life in the TED talk. The viewer gets the impression he only touches the surface of what is possible. He also mentions risk and the steps taken to avoid it...very gratifying and reassuring.

Obviously it is early days, but just imagine if sythetic life could replace the need for coal seam gas! Then the Surat Basin would be returned to the farmers, albeit 'pock marked'. Imagine if it could replace other energy sources! Rent taxes would be superfluous. Just imagine................................................

The out of the blue, left field development which appears within the complexity of life, and thus shifts our expectations is where excitement and potential lie.

ROYALTIES  Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm [Above]
The yellow foreground of this ambiguous landscape is created with $ signs. Regular readers of my BLOG know I have used $ before. I have also used them in the second painting above Blue Gold ...'blue gold' being water.  The smallness of the $ signs means that the viewer initially does not really notice them, but upon a closer examination they do. I have watched people as they move closer to my $ paintings. The realisation shows on their faces as they move even closer to the image and then move back again to get a broader perspective. Regular readers know that this action of moving close and then moving back to a distance is important to me for a couple of reasons. One, it replicates the artist's action of painting up close and then moving back to view from a distance, to make decisions based on a range of concerns from aesthetic to meaning. Two, this action of moving back and forth is like a dance, the kind of dance I 'see' as necessary in a global world in which we live locally. In Royalties the small circles in the 'sky' are dotted with the same $ yellow. These circles are like portals which seem to offer alternative visons for how we place 'value' on the offerings of our Earth.  Questions I ask are: in the flurry of activity what are we noticing?  What and where are our blindspots? Is it possible to see the 'big picture' at the same time as seeing the details? The last question is one I try to grapple with in my paintings...I like to think that people experience a sense of what it is like to see the macro at the same time as the micro, thus changing ideas of perspective and perhaps shedding light to reveal our blindspots.

Cheers, Kathryn

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Together Gouache on paper 30 x 21 cm [SOLD]

'Presence' opened on Thursday night last week in Maleny at the buzzing Upfront Club. The club is run by the Maple Street Co-operative, which also runs a great shop selling all sorts of good things for you. Maleny is a world leader in co-operative kinds of enterprises.

The opening was lots of fun, with quite a number of people there to see my paintings and hear my short speech, which was received with enthusiasm! Give me a microphone and words tumble out of my mouth! It is very exciting when you can connect people to like minded others...and this happened in a beautiful way too. Photos are on there way and once they get to me I will upload onto the BLOG and tell you more.

After my exhibition 'Frisson' in March I decided to take a little rest from painting, because quite frankly I was exhausted. But, no rest from thinking, reading and so on. My date to re-enter my studio enforce is June 1. I am getting itchy fingers and will admit to dabbling with some works on paper. But, I have 9 new linen stretchers of varying sizes sitting in my garage/studio and they are beckoning! As I have written and said before, the blank canvas is never really blank, because an artist's mind's eye creates many images upon the blankness before deciding to take hold of the brush to make that first visible mark. The preceeding imagined images still exist within that first mark and those that follow though.

So, where are my thoughts for my new paintings taking me? Well... they traverse the immensity and intimacy of both the nano and the universal. I am 'seeing' things that in one instance could be miniscule, but in another instance further thought opens the initially perceived dimension to something so immense it is almost without size. My much loved transcultural/religious tree-of-life is still a central guiding motif because at every turn of thought I 'see' it as providing the clue to the archetype of everything!

Books such as "The Brain That Changes Itself' by Dr. Norman Doidge and 'Our Final Century' by Prof. Martin Rees have given me SO much to ponder. The immensity of the unknown is clearly negotiated with both intellect and imagination. In fact, without imagination and creativity one wonders where knowledge would be?

Imagination as well as intellect helps us to search for and find the links and similarities between people. On the universal scale, something all humankind [past, present and future] share is our planet Earth. And, whilst it might seem like it is the centre of the Universe, it is not, and whatever Earth's future is, it is our's too. The new scientific breakthrough where artificially created DNA has been placed within an emptied cell, which has then replicated itself, is both amazing and horrifying. Rees discusses the upside and downside potential of this kind of breakthrough in his book, even though in the early 2000s this kind of breakthrough was only imagined. He also spends some time looking at risk [any kind of risk to our planet and humanity] and it is in this discussion that imagination and extrapolation are significant. However, what is obvious is that risk is something which all of humanity must acknowledge as shared. As Rees also points out we need to think not of just our present selves, but also the potential risk to future generations over time.

Imagination often presents us with a scenario, an image, a thought which for some time satisfies us, but sometimes a new piece of information, will propel the initial imagined scenario, image or thought into further dimensions. Those imagined things can unfold to reveal synchronicities, prophetic vibes and unconsious 'knowings' that were not acknowledged or 'seen' in the intitial imaginings. When this happens it feels like imagination is an energy force, that can 'see' around corners.


Seeping Into The Intimate Vastness Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm $4000 *

Here's a suggestion! If you are from around Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast  Take a Leisurely drive to Maleny, brouse around the shops, have lunch at the Upfront Club...and see my paintings!!! Or better still stay in the Monteville/Maleny area for the weekend, then you could take in a live music gig at the Upfront Club too.

* The price is for the exhibition 'Presence' which ends 15 June. This is the current market price and will be maintained or increased after 15th June.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Into My Galaxy Oil on linen 85 x 147 cm

I hung my exhibition 'Presence' at the Upfront Club in Maleny yesterday. For my BLOG visitors from overseas, Maleny is a picturesque town in the hinterland hills behind Queensland's famous Sunshine Coast. It takes about 1 3/4 hours to drive north from Brisbane. The town has an eclectic population of young and old, artists, musicians, retired academics, retired all sorts of people [journalists, merchant bankers, farmers], hillchangers from Sydney and Melbourne, Feng Shui experts, world leaders in co-operatives and so on.

The show looks great...if I say so myself. And, I certainly received very positive stroking comments from a number of people ...passers by, staff at the Upfront Club, diners. Lots of chatting yesterday in between the unwrapping of paintings and being precariously perched on the top rung of a ladder.

Here's a link to a recent  previous post about 'Presence':


Title of Exhibition: PRESENCE
Dates: Thursday 20 – Tuesday 15 June 2010
Venue: Upfront Club, 31 Maple St, Maleny. 07 5494 2592
Opening Event: Thursday 20 May 6 pm – 8 pm

Forever Connected Oil on linen 120 x 80 cm

The Brush Of Angels' Wings Oil on linen 50 x 92 cm

The three paintings above 'Into My Galaxy', 'Forever Connected' and 'The Brush Of Angels' Wings' are in 'Presence'. With all three paintings I have explored notions of perspective. Regular readers of my BLOG know that literal and metaphoric perspective are of great interest to me. Metaphoric perspective is the greater interest. However, I distort or play with literal perspective to engage the viewer in a felt experience of not being quite sure of their viewing point and thus their 'place' in relationship with the painting. In an increasingly globalised world in which we live locally, I think it is a matter of survival to develop skills of 'seeing' multiple perspectives simultaneously. Yet, traditional notions of perspective compel us to 'see' maybe one to three points of view, but not necessarily simultaneously. Distance also transpires to keep perspective as a line-of-sight kind of experience rather than a sentient multi-dimensional experience, that maybe akin to some kind of absorbtion. With this in mind, I am beginning to think that traditional notins of perspective are limiting and that a new name needs to be created to describe the ability to 'see' mutiple viewpoints simultaneously.

The three paintings above all depict the tree-of-life. As regular readers of my BLOG know this archetypal symbol is my favoured visual vehicle to explore my ideas. The tree-of-life is transcultural and trans-religious and thus needs no or little explanation. From my experience I know its potency is that it resonnates deep within people, at an almost cellular level. Yet, why should this surprise? The tree mirrors our own bodies, our internal life systems as well as those systems that nurture the Earth...and of course the potential is that it provides some kind of mirror to those systems existing beyond Earth, but which in turn keep our planet from disappearing.

'Into My Galaxy' is all about 'out there'. The tree is the source seemingly contained within the moment of fertilisation, set against a universal background which simultaneously suggests endless space and the intimate warm protection of the womb. Yet, the tree could also be interpreted as being inside the energy or fundamental force suggested by String Theory. Viewed up close this painting revelas that all the small markings which create the colourful background are little squigggles or 'strings' replicating the larger shape in which the tree is contained.

Regular readers of my BLOG know that I am very interested in how people view my paintings. The movement back and forth to see my work at close and far distance is important to me. Firstly it replicates how I have created a painting, as I paint up close and move back to a distance to examine and analyse what I have done. Secondly, this movement of both the artist and the viewer is maybe an exemplar for how we need to view our increasingly globalised world ie: to understand and 'see' the macro as well as the micro.

I have written about 'The Brush Of Angels' Wings' and 'Forever Connected' previously. Here are the links:


Sunday, May 16, 2010


Disappearing Perspective Oil on linen 30 x 30 cm

During the last week I spent 2 days in Sydney visiting the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes' exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW, plus also seeing some of the first days of the Sydney Biennale at the Museum of Contemporary Art [MCA], Cockatoo Island and the Botanic Gardens. I did not get to see the Biennale exhibits at the other feet had already diengaged from my legs by the last remaining hours of my stay in Sydney. It is exhausting looking at art!

I will admit to not getting much joy from the Archibald Prize exhibition. The fact that the popularity of the exhibition brings multitudes of people, including school groups, to the gallery means that the viewer is forced to either view the paintings at close proximity and/or with constant obstruction. I felt many of the paintings just did not work when viewed up close, yet a few of them did work when I was able to get a longer distance view. But, for me at least, a good painting does need to 'say' something at both close and far distance.    

The Wynne Prize exhibition brought me more joy. The painting I reacted to with an immediate sense of  being in the portrayed environment was John R Walker's Plum Tree Backyard.  This painting captured the sense of warmness and light of a late Spring, early Summer Australian backyard. I could feel and smell the heat and hear the insects, yet this painting did not rely on any kind of alientating realism which seems to be the current visual mantra.

The Sulman Prize exhibition was quite a mixture to say the least. The work I responded to with a sense of wonder was Paul Sellwood's Sacred Play. This work was made from sheet metal with some kind of surface treatment. When I first glimpsed it out of the corner of my eye I thought it was a free standing 3d sculpure, but in fact, it was a flat wall piece which gave the impression of bulky monumantality. Even in the crowded space of the gallery Sellwood's artwork compelled a stillness, which evoked a sense of the sacred.

The Colour Of Knowledge Oil on linen 62 x 82 cm

The theme for the 2010 Sydney Biennale is The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age. There were a number of artworks which took and held my attention at the MCA. These included NZ artist Shane Cotton's three large paintings. I was particularly drawn into 'The Hanging Sky' which enticed  my eyes to dance across and into the image which included depictions of Maori heads, birds and leaves set against a gloriously painted dramatic dark sky. Whilst Cotton clearly makes commentary on issues around Maori history, the actual painting involved the viewer in an almost physical experience of magnitude and intimacy...which I would say dealt with concepts of distance on more than one level.

Hanging beside the Cotton paintings were paintings by South African artist Penny Siopis. They grabbed my attention when I entered the large gallery they were hanging in. In fact, I had a battle within myself as to whether I'd look at the Cotton paintings first or to look at the paintings beside them. I immediately recognised Cotton's work as I have seen it many times before, but the Siopis paintings were unknown to me. Up close her paintings did not disappoint. She combines paint and glue to create images of vulnerability, which the viewer sees more clearly once a close examination of forms reveal themselves. The images grow in magnitude as the viewer discerns the details. In this way the viewer almost feels complicit in the acts of oppression which are ultimately discovered. There is a fight between admiring the seductive and almost erotic line, shape and colour employed by Siopis and her choice of subject matter.

I just loved the 9 drawings on layers of drafting flim by Hong Kong artist Angela Su. Her drawings looked like anatomical studies of the internal human reproductive system, but the viewer could not be quite sure as she had included botanical shapes, unidentifiable anatomical looking additions etc. The images, I felt, were certainly about life. One of them depicted a tree-of-life with miniature drawings of her larger ones 'hanging' from the branches. I thought Su's work was one of the few that had overcome a dependency on depicting human fraility and suffering in all its guises to 'talk' about survival. Whilst her drawings hinted at the potential for mutation and disease, I felt this was achieved in a way which gave the viewer a choice. So, for me, her drawings were truly about survival, because there seemd to be no reliance on regurgitating, and thus holding onto, despair, disaster, mayhem, debauchery, death, destruction. In a way, she had let all of this go...thus it existed in absentia...surely 'letting go' is true survival...and in fact a true 'distancing'?

American artist, Angela Ellsworth's installation Seer Bonnets: A Continuing Offense consisted of women's bonnets made from pearl tipped corsage pins. The installation was amazing in its initial beauty which immediately draws the viewer to examine the work more closely. Once the viewer realises that the pins' sharp ends are visible inside the bonnets, the idea of beauty seems almost guilt laden. How can one think this array of bonnets is beautiful when the pins evoke sinister commentary on the history of women's submission, abuse, inequality and so on? I really liked and felt the 'distance' in Ellsworth's work.

Braid Oil on board 90 x 60 cm

So, that's just some of the art I saw in Sydney. Obviously there was a lot more, but I've written about the ones I am still thinking about!


My small exhibition PRESENCE opens on Thursday night 20 May 6-8 pm @ Maleny's Upfront Club, 31 Maple St, Maleny.

The top two paintings will be in the exhibition. Disappearing Perspective reflects my unfolding thoughts on the potential potency in collapsing traditional notions of perspective ie: points of view. For me, the 21st century needs to be a time where people can develop skills of 'seeing' multiple perspective simultaneously. I believe this is a matter of survival. The ability to 'see' multiple perspectives simultaneously needs a name that differentiates it from 'perspective'. 

The Colour of Knowledge looks at the idea of knowledge being colour which cascaded throught the world when Adam and Eve took from the 'tree-of-knowledge'. I 'see' this as a way to examine the dualities which seemingly exist. I have written about this painting's the link.

The third painting is a self portrait. Yep, the back of my head with my long plait, which I identify with more than my face!


Monday, May 10, 2010


                                          Sharing The Spaces Gouache on paper 21 x 30 cm paper size

'Yes' is a pretty positive word. So, I thought I'd write a post about saying 'yes' to art. I have been thinking about my small exhibiton 'Presence' in Maleny opening next week, and it came to me that what makes an artist's heart sing, after the creation of a piece of art, is the word 'yes'.

An artist's heart sings when a gallery says 'yes' they will exhibit the artist's work. The singing continues when someone says 'yes' to buying an artist's work. The heart bounces with excited anticipation when 'yes' is said by competition preselectors that an artist's entry is a finalist. Oh, and the heart dances and sings when a 'yes' is an announcement that the artist's entry has won a competition. An artist's heart sings warmly when someone says something that illustrates they totally 'get' what the artist is trying to achieve. The heart sings joyfully when a curator says 'yes' to including an artist's work in a curated exhibition.

And...then when the artist views their bank accounts to see that their creations are providing funds for further art making and all the other things needed or wanted in life, the air is punched with a resounding song 'Yes, yes, yes!'

Why buy art? Why say that word that makes an artist's heart sing...'YES'? Apart from any investment potential [and that's a whole subject in itself!] when someone purchases a piece of art they are not just aquiring a product...they are buying a piece of the artist and a piece that somehow resonates with them. Thus, they are buying something that is shared even though it may be not be consciously identified. These sharings include,  memories, hopes, visions, curiosities, fetishes, fantasies and I am sure you can think of more. As I have suggested before on this BLOG, maybe the resonation happens at a cellular level in that huge part of our DNA which has not yet been unravelled, but where human race memory may exist. So the connection between the artist as creator and the buyer is one founded in what it means to be human.

I have often had collectors of my paintings say to me that they see somethig new in my work each day. This brings me joy, because it means my work has a continuing life which potentially will continue for a long time or even forever! YES!

Please check out my previous post PRESENCE for the details of my exhibition coming up next week. YES! YES! YES!


Tuesday, May 04, 2010


                               The Presence of Angels Oil on linen 60 x 100 cm

I am having a small exhibition PRESENCE in Maleny, that lovely township in the green and undulating hinterland behind Queensland's Sunshine Coast. My parents retired to Maleny just over 20 years ago, so it is kind of like going home. I have exhibited in Maleny 3 times before. Once in 1994 and then twice more recently. The two recent shows were at The Upfront Club and my next show will be there too.

Title of Exhibition: PRESENCE
Dates: Thursday 20 – Tuesday 15 June 2010
Venue: Upfront Club, 31 Maple St, Maleny. 07 5494 2592
Opening Event: Thursday 20 May 6 pm – 8 pm

PRESENCE will be an exhibition of oil on linen and works on paper paintings exploring the potency of archetypal symbols, particularly the trans-cultural/religious tree-of-life.

I investigate what these symbols may mean in the 21st century as we live locally in an increasingly globalised world. I play with perspective to deliberately create ambiguous images which provoke questions about how we view ourselves and others. I believe I do not actually finish my paintings, because every conversation, whether within oneself or with others, provides a completion. Thus, there is the exiting potential for multiple completions and life beyond.

The exhibition is called PRESENCE to suggest that by exploring new perspectives we may see and feel things which we may not otherwise see or feel. Maybe we will find a way to imagine and then 'find' other dimensions?

The painting below was inspired my daughter when she was about 3 years old when she looked out from our verandah to our garden and exclaimed, 'Look Mummy the leaves are dancing.' Trust a child to see and feel something which I had not. I am so glad she reminded me to look, see and feel.

                                                        The Leaves Are Dancing Oil on linen 36 x 36 cm

I grew up on the flat plains of the Darling Downs in rural Queensland. In this relentless space, as a small child, I dreamt I could fly. This ‘experience’ has inspired my explorations of literal and metaphoric perspective.

I have an extensive exhibition history in S.E Queensland as well as exhibiting overseas where I have held solo exhibitions in London 2002, Dubai 2004 and Abu Dhabi 2005 and have been included in group exhibitions in Seoul and Dubai.

Exhibiting in the Middle East, and the conversations I shared with people from across the region, has propelled my explorations of literal and metaphoric perspective. I am passionate about art’s potential, as a catalytic agent to inspire agenda-less, but not directionless, conversations which collapse the distance of difference to reveal similarities.

Since 2008, when I last exhibited at the Upfront Club, I have been a finalist in 14 art awards, including the Stanthorpe, Prometheus and Tattersall’s art awards.

My Mother, Elsie Brimblecombe exhibited HIDDEN CITIES [inspired by Italo Calvino's book of the same name] last year at the Upfront Club and will be exhibiting new paintings in October this year. My niece, Edie Brimblecombe will be exhibiting at the Upfront Club in September.


Oline communities which may interest some of you?
I have recently joined the Wiserearth online community. Here's a link to its BLOG

Another online community which I belong to is The Peace and Collaborative Development Network There is a constant stream of interesting links, jobs, conferences and so on. Anyone working in the area of peace and Conflict Studies will find mountains of resources.

And...another is Art Action Union

I am nearly finished Martin Rees's book 'Our Final Century'. It is not a large book, but it sure has some huge ideas, even with topics dealing with nano sized investigations and inventions! Whilst he postulates various cataclysmic scenarios regarding the potential demise of humankind and even the planet, Rees's sense of wonder shines through with a freshness that makes the book far from depressing. A sense of wonder is a gift...and one I hope to never lose. I mentioned this book in a recent post

My website