Monday, March 12, 2012


Tomorrow night I am giving a guest formal dinner speech at Women's College, the University of Queensland residential college I attended many moons ago. I have chosen the topic of BEAUTY.

Regular readers will know I have written about beauty many times before [a couple of links are below]. Hopefully, the words will flow forth easily tomorrow night! My mother always says, write about what you know. I think the same goes for public speaking, and many creative pursuits. I may not know all about beauty, but it has been a focus of my thoughts for a long time.

                                          The Beauty Of Oil on linen 36 x 36 cm 2011

So, I have previously written about beauty's capacity as a portal, as a catalyst for hope [and therefore having political agency], as a reminder of what we loose if we don't look after ourselves and the planet. I have also explained my belief that beauty conscously elides ugliness, and in doing so, acknowledges it, and then relinquishes it to a presence in absentia. This conscious elision means beauty cannot be labeled as ignorant. It does mean, however, that an underlying pathos exists giving beauty a fulsome and mature dimensionality which contrasts with, and renders impotent, the vacuuousness of prettiness. Prettiness survives in the world of fashion, a mono dimensioned world which slips and slides across our everyday lives in the mass media.

But, to my title for this post. BEAUTY- HAS NO ANTONYM?

As I have been preparing for my speech, I suddenly had a light bulb moment. Many people might think ugliness is the opposite of beauty. But, for me, pretty is the opposite of ugly. My thinking is that if beauty does consciously elide ugliness and it exists in absentia, then how can ugliness be an antonym? An existence in absentia, is not the same as a shadow nagging to be acknowledged, because, as I wrote above, I believe beauty does consciously acknowledge ugliness in the process of elision. It is not's just not given any more attention and due to acknowledgement it does not demand it from beauty. Is beauty an example of non-duality, a unified concept?

                                   The Beginning Of Everything Oil on linen 90 x 180 cm

Was beauty present at the instant life began, at the Big Bang or whatever it was that set everything in motion? I suspect it was. And, this Beauty now exists as some kind of human race memory, maybe deeply buried in our DNA code. Maybe that's why we sometimes have Ah Ha moments, that stir our inner core reminding us of something, often propelling us onto new thoughts and actions, but always providing us with joy and hope.

Gate Oil on linen 100 x 100 cm 2011

Previous BEAUTY posts:
My forthcoming exhibition of new work

17-29 April
Graydon Gallery
Merthyr Rd, New Farm, Brisbane

Gate [above] will be in the exhibition. The Beauty Of is already sold! And, The Beginning Of Everything was in my last solo exhibition and was also a finalist in the invitation only Tattersall's Landscape Art Award 2011. After QUIVER'S opening night I am planning to bring in some other paintings, to have a kind of...stock room...where people can discover. It is actually really frustrating that older paintings are often only exhbited once or twice...hardly gives a chance for people to see them, let alone decide to buy them! 


I discovered another blogger who likes my work. And, I like his too. You might like to check out John Simpson's unfolding story 



Audubon Ron said...

No one knows all about beauty, but, The Beauty Of... seems to be the core of "radiance".

Beauty has no antonym b/c it is radiant and radiance is disambiguous. We know it instantly when we touch it, when we hear it, when we see it, when we sense it - having never sensed it before, we recognize it.

JES said...

Kathryn, if I yielded to temptation I'd probably wind up recreating your entire gallery of work at my place -- one painting per installment of The Propagational Library. It fits so dazzlingly well!

But I also try to be sensitive to the various issues surrounding copyright and online reproduction of artworks. I'm very, very grateful to have found in your work a visual crystallization of my story's ideas. :)

Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox said...

Ron, I quoted you in the speech I gave at Women's College!

JES John, I am very pleased you found my works too! And, I am thrilled I found your BLOG and the Propagational Library.