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

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