Tuesday, November 16, 2010


                         The Beginning Of Everything: Remembering Distance Oil on linen 90 x 180 cm 2010

I have been working on this new painting for weeks, full days and into the nights. After looking at this painting, viewers could think I was a little obsessive! Well, that might be the case with this painting! It just kept propelling me and I now feel somewhat lost. This feeling will go, when I start the next painting, which is already percolating in my mind.

The Beginning Of Everything ....where do I start!! Funny question when you think of the title! But, that's just it...the title and the painting pose more questions than answers...not that I think art necessarily does, or should, even try to answer anything. If it had the answers, I think, art would truly be dead.

I had this idea that I wanted to paint an mage which 'spoke' about the beginning, those nano seconds after the Big Bang. What would 'landscape' be like? I wanted to paint an image which gave an impression of those nano instances, but also the presence of whatever it is/was that set it ALL in motion. Coupled with those post-Big Bang nano instances I wanted to paint an image which could be 'read' as that intimate nano-second when each human life begins. Regular readers will know that my interest in the connection between close and far distance, the intimate and vast, the micro and macro, drives my search for a way to open multiple perspectives.

In this painting, I have used my much loved transcultural/religious tree-of-life motif which cuts its capillary-like branches across the 'landscape' ...from the Universe of outer space and the 'universe' within the womb, to the 'universe' of human psyche. The tree's branches weave their way across the space, which can seem to both inside and outside something...vast and/or intmate. I wanted to give a sense that perhaps we, the viewers, are witnessing something from the edge of a 'happening'...that we are both witnesses and participants.  I wanted to give a sense that the image contained more than it revealed. 

Childhood Landscape
The vastness of my childhood landscape on my parent's farm outside Dalby on the Darling Downs, has influenced my interest in the 'play' between the vast and intimate. Indeed, the vastness meant that one could be both witness and participant, because multiple distances could be seen and felt simultaneously. The relentless blue skies of the daytime turned into the twinkling sheath of the Milky Way at night. The Bunya Mountains, cutting a majestic silhouette in the east, contrasted with the flat treeless horizon in the west. In between this distance there was space to notice the minutiae of life. Things such as the snaking cracks in the black soil, which miraculously closed up when rain turned the soil into thick mud. Things such as grains of wheat scattered on the side of the road, the creeping tendrils of prickle plants, drops of water on leaves, little whirly winds which picked up dust, feathers, seeds.

I remember, as a child, lying on my back on a thick patch of green clover [before the prickle bindis formed] gazing up at the sky. The clover was like a lush bed and the sky seemed full of energy. As a child I remember my grandmother, who lived in town, taking me and my brothers outside her house, at night, to gaze at the stars. My grandmother knew all the constellations and tried to teach us to identify them. She brought the galaxy closer to us with her knowledge. In a sense she gave us the experience of being witness and participant in the 'beginning of everything'.

Visitors from Overseas
My parents, over the years, hosted a number of visitors from foreign countries [India, Germany, UK, Malaysia, New Guinea] and many of these visitors had trouble coping with the vastness of the flat naturally treeless plain landscape of my childhood. The distance frightened them. Even friends of mine from the city had issues with the vastness. I sensed they felt 'on edge'... literally on the edge of something which went beyond just physical experience.

Back to the painting! The larger section on the top right, still depicting the tree, gives a sense of space...both within and without. The red tinged appearance is a deliberate reference to the doppler effect, suggesting that what we see is receding, and thus expanding, at speed away from us. Yet, the blue tinge suggests a movement towards us. The round 'hole' references many things, including but not limited to...black holes, the possibility of other Universes, the stillness at the vortex core, atoms, birth canals, an eye [with all its symbolic meanings], veins...the moon of my childhood memories gazing at the night sky with my grandmother.

Whilst my childhood memories and wonderments have inspired this painting, some of the extra [or coupling] inspirations came from a book I have mentioned before...a fascinating book called 'Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe' by Martin Rees [Basic Books, 2000] Martin Rees is Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics, and Master of Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. He also holds the honorary title of Astronomer Royal and Visiting Professor at Imperial College London and at Leicester University.

Please check out some of my meanderings on water...its issues are the most serious of this century. You can start here http://kathrynbrimblecombeart.blogspot.com/2010/11/murray-darling-currency.html



Audubon Ron said...

The title is very apt, but I don't necessarily sense a big bang as much as I do a vat of matter beginning to settle. In fact, it really has more of a dark matter affect which as you know is a type of matter that exists between the gravitational effects of visible matter. Almost an unseen solution that I can imagine that you have illuminated ever so slightly in the green and the blue. Very relational and supportive of the other.

Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox said...

Hi Ron,
I like your thoughts on a 'vat of matter beginning to settle', because that potentially could be the way to describe the instances just after the Big Bang. I also like your words 'unseen solution'.