Monday, April 23, 2012


                                                     Last Witness Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm

Last Witness

The red tree, representing the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of- life symbol, stands as the last witness to humankind’s prosaic mutation of the alchemic myth of transformation. At its most profound the myth can be understood as a transformation into transcendence. Humankind’s frantic desire to transform nature’s gifts into commodities, where the most significant value is economic, shatters the alchemic myth’s potential to reveal, and revel in, the many dimensions of the meaning of ‘value’.

In ‘Last Witness’ the top part of the painting is a deliberately ambiguous ‘landscape’. Small brush strokes create a tapestry of colour which could be interpreted as sky, rain, a forest, land and water contours, and more. Towards the bottom half of the painting, these elements are transformed into another ambiguous ‘landscape’ created with small $ signs. When viewed from a distance these $ signs are not discernible, yet they become obvious when viewed up close. I am asking the question ‘Have we noticed?’

There is hope though. The red tree, the last witness to plundering in the name of monetary value and progress, is surrounded by small white dots giving a halo-like, portal-like, seemingly illuminative presence. The tree stands as witness, but also as guide and illuminator to other alternatives. The tree, as the tree-of-life, represents the vigour of life with its vascular like branches and its pulsating red. It beckons us to ask better questions. It provokes us into conversations where new perspectives are illuminated. It reminds us of the beauty we lose if one dimensional interpretations of value erode the fulsome capacities of transformation.



Sunday, April 15, 2012


Seeking The Light Oil on linen 36 x 36 cm

The car is loaded, documents are prepared, screw driver, blu tac and other assorted bits and pieces are ready. QUIVER is ready to be hung. I am hanging the show tomorrow [Monday], and the doors open to the public on Tuesday.


QUIVER is an exhibition of new paintings inspired by concepts of Mother Nature. Using the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life symbol, I explore distance from the nano to the multiversal. In this distance where perspective, both literal and metaphoric, takes on multi layered dimensions, the quiver …tremble….vibration…of all life reminds us of the shared rhythmic pulse across time and space. 
In an age where environmental and sustainability issues battle with increasing energy needs, water viability and food production, re-examination of Mother Nature’s story, myth and symbolism may provide new perspectives which are not only Earth bound, but also directed to and from the cosmic world, at the same time as potentially penetrating quantum secrets.
In many of these new paintings I combine a figure of a woman, with the tree-of-life. The woman seems to dance across indeterminate spaces that seem both vast and intimate. Her limbs erupt with trees that seem to connect her to these spaces in ways that resonate viscerally. This connection suspends time as Mother Nature embodies the first impulse of life as well as its present and future continuance.

In other paintings I have combined the tree-of-life with other elements to 'ask' questions about how we 'value' our land, how we might discover new perspectives and how we might re-imagine our place within modern cosmology. How do we partner with Mother Nature to understand the spectrum of life from the quantum to the cosmic?

Graydon Gallery,
29 merthyr Rd, New Farm, Brisbane, Australia

17 - 29 April
OPEN DAILY 10 am - 6 pm or by appointment
ANZAC DAY 12 noon - 6 pm

Please check out Carolyn McDowall's article in The Culture Concept.

Please check out a recent QUIVER post and my online gallery on my WEBSITE
Copies of my recently published book FOR EVERYONE: Words and Paintings will be available at QUIVER


Oil on linen 36 x 36 cm

In this new painting [above] the female figure, representing Mother Nature, seems to attract light. He arms and feet erupt with vascular-like trees connecting her to whatever energy it is that propels life.  

This painting is one of three 36 x 36 cm paintings in QUIVER. The other two paintings are below.

 Out There Somewhere Oil on linen 36 x 36

The Beginning Oil on linen 36 x 36 cm

I will upload photos of the show when it is hung!


Sunday, April 08, 2012


Sap of Life Oil on linen 55 x 80 cm
Will be in QUIVER

A few days ago I was excitedly telling a friend about my recent painting Ouroboros I was explaining how I had combined two age-old symbols, the snake consuming itself [ie: ouroboros] and my much loved tree-of-life. I was, apparently, getting quite animated as I explained why I had combined the two symbols. I was in the throes of describing how the two symbols embodied the distances of the quantum and the cosmic, and how I had been inspired by reading about modern cosmology, when I glimpsed, out of the corner of my eye, one of my daughters. She was clearly sending me a non-verbal massage that I was being weird!

So, being a marvelous modern mother, I said to my daughter, 'Am I being weird?'. The reply was, 'Yes Mum, you are weird... but I Iove you.' So, I replied, 'Well, I think you're very lucky to have a weird Mum.' The response was, 'Yeeeeees Muuuuuum.' We all had a good laugh!

Well, I was probably getting a bit over animated. When I do this, my arms apparently make wild gestures and my body is pumped with energy. I suggest that these are signs of JOY!

So, I started to think about what makes me feel joy. Indeed, many things do...from a new pair of shoes, to my children, to receiving a reply to an email from an astrophysicist. Now this spectrum provides for a broad range of joyful moments! However, I am going to focus on those things, and moments, in my creative practice that bring me joy.   

Me in my studio which I share with the hot water system and where I paint on paper.

                             Me in my studio [aka garage] where I paint my oil paintings
This painting became THIS and then THIS [A painting called 'One']

  • Yes, getting a replies to emails from a variety of people, including astrophysicists, academics, philosphers etc, over the years has given me great joy. Why? I think it is the acknowledgement that my creative activity touches upon relevant and contemporary discussions, which cross multiple facets of thought and investigation. JOY!

  • In some cases the email exchanges have continued, with a rich and regular injection of stimulation and feedback. JOY!

  • My regular followers of this BLOG bring JOY! You know who you are.

  • Reading about things I have thought about, but not realised were 'out there' in the world of debate and discovery, until I read about them. The synchronicity is exciting. A feeling of being connected to this kind of energy is very exciting. JOY!

  • When I prepare a canvas I often splash paint and turps around ultimately leaving the canvas either upright or flat on the floor, to let the paint do its own thing. [See teh photo of me above] Upon returning to my studio [aka garage], with new eyes [so to speak] I am often blown away by the results of the combination of my manipulations and chance. I feel excitement well up in my heart...JOY! I then very keenly take up my brush to take the painting further.

  • When I have been working up close to a painting for awhile, I will step back from it, to view it from a distance. Now, sometimes I am not happy with what I see, but many times, I see something I did not realise I was at least I think so. The feeling is a combination of surprise, gratitude, satisfaction and some fear...but also JOY

  • Getting a phone call, email or letter to tell me I have been selected as a finalist in an art prize. I enter many art prizes and have become very 'hard skinned' about rejection! My middle name is 'persistence'. So, when I receive notification of acceptance...JOY! Yes, yes, yes. I have been known to jump up and down on the spot...yes my children think it's weird when an 'old person' does this.

A long time ago I won a senior section state-wide prize which celebrated Queen Elizabeth's silver jubilee. Here I am with Her Majesty and I think the DG of Education at Queensland's Government House. My painting is top left. It's 1977! Yes, lots of JOY and anxiety too! Whether you are an monarchist or not, meeting the Queen, as a teenager was pretty exciting.

  • I did definitely jump up and down on the spot when I received the first copy of my book For Everyone: Words and Paintings. A package was delivered to my door...I wondered what it was...looked at the sender info and realised it was my book. One of my daughters was home at the time. She even jumped up and down on the spot! It was just so exciting to open the package and see my first book [so far only!]. Given that For Everyone is essentially about reconnecting to one's inner child, I think my response, and my daughter's, was entirely appropriate.

  • I have held many solo exhibitions over the years, but each time, when the show is fnally hung and I see a body of my work in its entirety, I feel JOY tinged with satisfaction and some fear too!

A view of my last solo exhibition VORTEX 2011
  • When someone buys a painting! JOY! Money means I can keep painting, so you can imagine the sheer joy... and relief...a purchase gives...not only to me, but to any artist. There is such satisfaction opening up one's bank account to see credits!

  • Now this has been unexpected, but I have had a number of people, after buy one copy of For Everyone return to by 3, 5 and 10 more copies. JOY!

  • One of these people is a family lawyer. She has bought a total of 16 copies, to give to family law type people, from mediators, to counsellors and I think even a Judge. She is keeping some to lend to clients. When I spoke to her recently she explained how she was using the book with her clients, helping them to understand themselves and their situations. Can I tell you....I felt so grateful, excited and JOYful, that someone had really 'got it' and that For Everyone was helping people. Check out Feeney Family Law where my book is mentioned on their BLOG.

  • Now, this is probably really weird, but I get very excited when I am asked to speak about my work or aspects of it. Public speaking, to many people, is frought with feelings of fear and anxiety. But, for me it's excitement [well with a little bit of anxiety]! I have spoken at many forums over the years, but one of the most memorable was in July 2008 when I was asked to be the guest speaker at the Univeristy of Queensland's graduation ceremony for the Faculties of Arts, and Behavioural and Social Sciences. I chose the topic of 'Perspective' [regular readers of this BLOG will know why]. I was told I should speak for around 8 Minutes. The first few seconds, where I was a tad nervous, passed and I realised that the slight rustling in the audience had quietened to very still and attentive silence. As I tried to not notice my face reflected back to me in the huge screens dotted around the massive UQ Centre, I felt a welling of excitement and JOY. They were listening to me!

Count down to my next solo exhibition. It opens to the public in just over a week! Now that's exciting!

Please check out Carolyn McDowall's article in The Culture Concept. When I saw this article I felt JOY! 

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

Please check out a recent QUIVER post and my online gallery on my WEBSITE

Meeting Place Of The Mind Oil on linen 100 x 70 cm
Will be in QUIVER


Monday, April 02, 2012


                                            Other Universes Gouache on paper15 x 21 cm

Regular readers will know of my interest in cosmology. As I research and think more about spacial and temporal distance and perspective, in terms of how the human race might 'see' itself and its environment, I get more and more excited about art's agency. This agency has catalytic potential to ignite our hearts and imaginations revealing how we may re-vision our innate links to, and identity with, the universe and the new scientific understandings of its enormous capacity.

As I have written previously, developing skills in seeing multi-perspectives, both literally and metaphorically, are of paramount importance as we live locally in an increasingly globalised world, but also in a world that is propelling itself into the extreme vastness of possible multi-universes, as well as the intimate vastness of the nano and beyond. Art's capacity to reveal new perspectives, stimulate new imaginings and to provide experiential opportunities opens possibilities for a cosmic compassion that embraces self, others and cosmic distances.

In my recent Ouroboros post  I mention husband and wife team Prof. Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams. Prof Primack is a Profesor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Nancy Abrams is a lawyer and has a BA in History and the Philosophy of Science. It is very exciting when you come across people who are passionate about the importance of visioning our place within the envirionment, not only our local and global ones, but also those beyond. They advocate for art's capacity to provide conduits between science and humanity's identity. Here is a quote from a 2001 paper Cosmology and 21st-Century Culture witten by Primack and Abrams.

All possibilities are still open because the meaning of this new cosmology is not implicit in the science. Scientific cosmology, unlike traditional cosmologies, makes no attempt to link the story of the cosmos to how human beings should behave. It is the job of scholars, artists, and other creative people to try to understand the scientific picture and to perceive and express human meanings in it. A living cosmology for 21st-century culture will emerge when the scientific nature of the universe becomes enlightening for human beings.

Please visit the Primack/Abrams website I am defnitely buying their book 'The Universe and The Human Future: How a Shared Cosmology Could Transform the World'.

                                              Ouroboros Oil on linen 122 x 153 cm
                             Ouroboros will be in my forthcoming exhibition QUIVER

With an expanded view of our environment, as a cosmic one, it is likely that as new perspectives are revealed we not only realise the extreme importance of our actions, but also may discover new ways of nurturing our immediate home, Earth. Indeed, as I have written before, new and multiple perspectives, possibly seen simultaneously, hold the potential to stimulate questions we have previously not thought to ask, thus potentially providing answers we did not know existed. This dialogue fosters new and more confident interpretations of our place within the cosmos.

                                               Cosmic Dust Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm

Regular readers will be aware of what I call my 'quiet activist' work, particularly commenting on the hasty expansion of the open cut mining and coal seam gas extraction in Australia. Whilst these paintings that focus on particular issues are more obviously political, I believe any art which suggests new perspectives that provoke questions which may ultimately provide answers that cause change, are also political in the broadest sense. I also believe that any art, with a grasp of beauty's power to provide hope, is political. Regular readers will know I have written about beauty many times before.

                                                   The Beauty Of Oil on linen 36 x 36 cm
There are many environmental and sustainability issues confronting us in the 21st century. The following quote by Primack and Abrams in the Introduction to 'The Universe and The Human Future: How a Shared Cosmology Could Transform the World', which is online at , is a sobering reminder of humankind's potential for either good or bad.

Earth is incredibly special, more so than anyone imagined before recent discoveries of hundreds of other planets orbiting nearby stars. And our era is an incredibly special moment even on a timescale of billions of years: we are the first species that has evolved with the capability to destroy our planet. Will we do so? Or will we successfully negotiate over the next two generations a transition from exponential growth in environmentally harmful activities to a sustainable relationship to this remarkable planet, the only hospitable place for creatures like us in the explored universe? The answer could affect not only humanity but the entire future of intelligence in the ultimately visible universe.

                                       Murray Darling Currency Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm
                    Murray Darling Currency will be in my forthcoming exhibition QUIVER

And, of course Lord Martin Rees's book 'Our Final Century' poses many questions and warnings about humankind's potential to not survive the 21st century. Here is a quote I have placed on this BLOG a couple of times:

It may not be absurd hyperbole—indeed, it may not even be an overstatement—to assert that the most crucial location in space and time (apart from the big bang itself) could be here and now. I think the odds are no better than fifty-fifty that our present civilisation on Earth will survive to the end of the present century. Our choices and actions could ensure the perpetual future of life (not just on Earth, but perhaps far beyond it, too). Or in contrast, through malign intent, or through misadventure, twenty-first century technology could jeopardise life’s potential, foreclosing its human and posthuman future. What happens here on Earth, in this century, could conceivably make the difference between a near eternity filled with ever more complex and subtle forms of life and one filled with nothing but base matter.Martin Rees, Our Final Hour: A Scientist’s Warning: How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind’s Future in This Century—On Earth and Beyond (New York: Basic Books, 2003) p.7-8
Now, this all brings me to my forthcoming exhibition QUIVER. It is an exhibition exploring notions of Mother Nature. My previous post, with a glimpse of some of the paintings, is HERE The following is an extract from my artist's statement.

In an age where environmental and sustainability issues battle with increasing energy needs, water viability and food production, re-examination of Mother Nature’s story, myth and symbolism may provide new perspectives which are not only Earth bound, but also directed to and from the cosmic world. 

You will notice in the painting Mother Nature [below] that the female figure, representing Mother Nature, seems to fly knowingly and confidently in an expanse that can be interpreted as outer space, or perhaps the inner reaches of the nano world. She is everywhere, she is Us.

                            Mother Nature Gouache on paper 52 x 63 cm framed 
                                          Mother Nature will be in QUIVER

Pleae check out this new article by Carolyn McDowall in her online Culture Concept. it is an article about QUIVER 
QUIVER 17 -29 April
Graydon Gallery, 29 Merthyr Rd, new Farm, brisbane, Australia.
Open daily 10 am - 6 pm
More details HERE