Thursday, July 07, 2011


                                                      Gate Oil on linen 100 x 100 cm

I have ruminated for days on the title for this painting above. I know what I want to say, but there's so much! The question I have been asking myself is; how do I encapsulate, in a succinct way, the enormity of possibilities which have permeated through my mind? When I started the painting I had ideas of portraying the gate to Eden ie: the gate Adam and Eve, after taking from the tree-of-knowledge, fled through, and which we [humanity] have the possibility of finding and returning to. Finding [or seeing again] the gate promises the return to Eden, Paradise, Heaven, One. I have previously written about the story of Adam and Eve, and its metaphysical lessons.

Yes, it is the metaphysical that holds the enormity which I have tried to grapple with. So, after coming up with lots of possible titles, each holding intrinsic limits, I decided to simply call the painting 'Gate'. Without other accompanying descriptor words, gate can take the viewer [and myself] to wherever we want to
go...and maybe to places we had not thought of going? We just have to open it!

So, the painting has a circle, or wreath, created with my much loved transcultural/religious tree-of-life/knowledge. Two white trees meet with entwined branches on the left of the painting. On the right, their trunks are connected by a oval ball of, what seems like, pulsing energy. It is this 'energy' that is one of the 'gates' in the painting. Another 'gate' is the circle of trees itself, which takes on a portal-like appearance. I have previously written about portals and their capacity to impel, beyond and within.

I have painted the trees white to indicate the time before knowledge ie: when Adam and Eve [humanity] could not see each other's nakedness. The fourteen trees which seem to grow out of the white wreath, represent knowledge ie: the knowledge of opposites revealed when Adam and Eve took from the tree-of-knowledge and could see their nakedness. You will notice that the trees are painted in the seven colours of the rainbow, the seven chakra colours. Each colour is repeated twice, once on the lower half of wreath/circle and once on the top half, as if they 'speak' of the knowledge of the conscious and subconscious, human and divine. I have previously written about my thoughts on colour and knowledge:

The 'gate' of pulsing energy is again two trees which meet in entwined branches. The trees, rather than being white, are painted with the seven rainbow/chakra colours, as if opening the gate with knowledge, returns humanity to a realisation of Oneness, Paradise, Eden, Heaven, Stillness.

If you have a pair of 3D glasses...go get them and put them on to look at this painting! The wreath/circle immediately distances itself from the background. It seems to float in space like some kind of celestial entity. Regular readers will know of my interest in the realms of the universe and the enthralling possibility that we are not part of one universe but many ie: multiverse. Maybe the 'gate' is a portal to other universes...and of course these other universes can be out there in space, or inside us within the realms of the subconscious!

I don't deliberately paint 3D. I discovered that many of my paintings take on the 3D appearance when a visitor to my exhibition 'Frisson' in 2010 brought in a pair of 3 D glasses! he returned to see my exhibition 'Vortex' earlier this year and brought some glasses again!

The act of putting on 3D glasses is, in a way, an act of deliberately seeing differently. I wonder how we can do this without the aid of external devices? I wonder how we can do this with the miracle of our imaginations? Seeing different perspectives, without aids, I believe, is the key to engendering compassion for ourselves and others.

The idea of a 'gate' being energy, excites me. Maybe I've watched too much Dr. Who? But, that's what I like about simple titles for paintings...they let the viewer's imagination stir! So, if I had called the painting 'Gate to Stillness', 'Revealing The Gate', 'Gateway to Eden' plus all the other titles I played around with, I suspect I would have diminished the work with prescription...even if it was just a little dose.

Regular readers will know that within my practice I have, what I call, my quiet activism work. I have not painted anything screamingly, obviously or even quietly activist very recently, but please see some links below. However, in a subtle way my paintings, such as 'Gate', are politically toned, because their underlying pathos is that they remind us of what we could lose if we maltreat our earthly paradise. They provoke wonder and imagination, powerful qualities to circumvent negativity, and bypass tired thinking!



  • I am presenting at the Qld Jung Society on 4 Aug. Here's a link to their homepage where you will find links to the various events, including mine.

  • My next solo show Paradise at Purgatory Artspace, Melbourne opens Friday 9 Sept. Exhibition dates 8 Sept - 8 October. More details soon.

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