Wednesday, February 09, 2011


BLOOD CONNECTION Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm

Life is getting to be a bit more normal after the Brisbane flood. Bigpond was restored on the weekend...and I've fallen back into my unhealthy habit of spending too much time hooked online. Well, probably not really! But being without internet for so long really highlighted how much time I spend at my computer.

On a broader picture, many people adversely affected by the floods, cyclones or fires here in Australia, are still without power, communication and other basic utilities. One friend has said to me that it amazes her how easily we fall into new patterns of survival when we have to...even if these patterns are accompanied by new or different stresses. Ultimately very exhausting though.

While I was offline I completed the painting above. I had started it before the flood and it, like all my other paintings on the ground floor, was stacked upstairs in case flood waters seeped into my house [thankfully the house remained dry!]. I took this painting back downstairs to my studio [aka garage] about a week after the flood. All the other paintings are still upstairs! Once I have my exhibition I'll get stuck into returning the house to its proper state!

The idea for this painting has been in my mind for some time. I wanted to create an image which brought the whole world together, an image that reminded us that we are connected across time and image that spoke of the connections we make in war and peace. In war it is the spilling of blood, the blood which knows no colour other than red, and is pumped through our bodies with a universal rhythm. Indeed a pulse, like breath, is a basic sign of life, not differentiated by race or culture.

As a child, watching various shows on tv I was intrigued by the concept of blood know...when two or more people would cut themselves and then rub the wounds together. As I write this description I am well aware that today this kind of activity could send parents, teachers into a frenzy of worry about such curses as HIV. However, in my childhood it stoked imaginations conjuring up visions of life long comradeship and loyalty.

So, Blood Connection is an image of the map of the world. My much loved transcultural/religious tree of life spills forth from the bottom left of the painting. It flourishes across the canvas pouring out the oceans in blue and the landmasses in blood red. The branches of the tree connect land and sea, the colour red connects each landmass, continent and country, to suggest the visceral and vascular qualities of a body, and the inevitible penetrability of manmade borders, those invisible demarkations that men and women fight to preserve at the behest of governments, ideologies, politics and religions . The world, becomes THE body. Blood spilled becomes the body of the Earth, leaving a memory trace of shared human existence through the loss of life...and tears. A metaphoric rubbing of wounds together....

The Earth as a body, appeals to me. Why? Well, like our human bodies the Earth is about 70% water. Of this percentage only 2% is freshwater, thus the great need to ensure we look after it. Maybe if we thought more of the Earth as a body we'd be less likely to plunder its resources with such gusto? Maybe risk factors would be more targeted and less broad...more scientific in risk analysis rather than business orientated in risk analysis?

Regular readers will know of my intense interest in water and its various issues. Indeed, water is quite topical here in Australia at the moment! But, it is always topical...we seem to either not have enough or we have too much! Growing up on a grain farm certainly taught me about the vagaries of water. As an adult living in Goondiwindi I learnt more about the commodification of water, its infrastructures, costs, ownership etc.

Blood Connection will be in my forthcoming exhibition VORTEX: Seeking Stillness At its Core. Indeed, the painting, whilst it 'speaks' of blood spilled, it also reminds us of the throbbing of life. In the space between loss and life, there exists a place to contemplate, a place of stillness, where we can possibly hear those things we did not know we could hear, see those things we did not know we could see and feel those things we did not know we could feel, ultimately revealing a compassion for self and others which may... just may...mean the end of war and the sustainability of peace.

I have painted a few other paintings which are maps created with my transcultural/religious tree of life. These paintings deal with water issues. This link will take you to an image and post called 'Underground Currency'. where there are links to other posts and images.

VORTEX: Seeking Stillness At Its Core
Graydon Gallery, 29 Merthyr Rd, New Farm, Brisbane
Tuesday 22 Febraury - Sunday 6 March
Open Daily 10 am - 6 pm


1 comment:

Audubon Ron said...

Flood. A big flood. Cyclone. A big cyclone. Fires. You guys sure have been through "a lot".

Good painting. You even got Africa and south America to look like those continents. Continents are hard to draw.