Friday, November 09, 2012


 Beyond The Dark Night Of The Soul Oil on linen 100 x 100 cm 2009
I deliberately put the word beyond in the title of Beyond The Dark Night Of The Soul [above] to indicate that even though a journey into the 'dark night of the soul' is something most people will experience, at some stage in their lives, there is a place beyond the suffering. I am fully aware that for some people, as if tortured on a Catherine Wheel, the 'dark night' persists or returns consistently. This must be dreadful. However, I know that the vicious cycle can be broken and that a place beyond is possible to find. As I said in my previous post about this painting, The word 'beyond' in the title clearly gives the message that this painting is not just a warm and fuzzy, feel-good image, because 'the dark night of the soul' as something that has been experienced but overcome, thus exists in absentia.

So, to the title of this post Beyond The Dark Night. By suggesting a beyond, suffering has not been simply ignored or avoided, thus left nagging incessently in the background like a small child wanting attention or a Catherine Wheel audibly creeking. It has been experienced and acknowledged leaving a trace, a memory. However, I like to think that a word like beyond means that the tumultuous tenticles of suffering cannot reach into the psyche dragging dreams, hopes, esteem and more back into that dark, dark place. No, suffering has not been alleviated, but its strength to hold on tightly, is diminished.

I have uploaded some more paintings where the dark night and suffering spoke or whispered to me. But I like to think I went beyond the grip of wallowing, sympathy seeking and fear. I must add here, that the dark night and suffering were not the only 'voices' in conversation with me! Maybe a place of beyond enables one to reach back voluntarily, to harvest wisdom, re-affirm intuition. The place beyond  is where hope exists... and hope is galvanising and political. A place beyond, out of the darkness, means one have the potential to 'see' with eyeball and pupil, as well as the mind's eye, all close and far distances, horizons and perspectives. There is a pathos in this all-seeing ability, which keeps us human, not strangled.

Hope In The Distance Oil on linen 80 x 120 2010

 Halo Oil on linen 82 x 183 2009
I have included Halo because whilst it rejoices in the beauty of planet Earth and its atmospheric halo, the painting 'came' to me when I was thinking about my cousin Bill [aka: Fred] From who died whilst descending Mt Everest in a blizzard. This happened 9 October 1984. He turned 28 that month.What is interesting is that I was compelled to paint Halo in October 2009. I had not realised it was the 25th anniversary of Bill's death until I googled to see if there was much about the expedition, lead by Sir Edmund Hillary's son, Peter Hillary.
Bill had just completed his PhD in Ionospheric Physics and had won a scholarship to one of the Max Planck Institutes in Germany.
Blood Connection Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2010

Blood Connection ,using my much loved age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life symbol, is a painting reminding us that during war, blood literally seeps into the earth. It has done so for eons... unfortunately. Upon burial or casting ashes, the body-our bodies- return to the Earth connecting us forever, returning us to the stars.
Planet $ [below] is another 'map' like painting, similar to Blood Connection. I have, however, painted the planet with small $ signs. This painting, I believe, puts into perspective the quantification and commoditisation of resources, an incessently global activity. It also speaks of the suffering wrought by the Global Financial Crisis. This suffering is reaching out to us from 2007/8, keeping us tethered to fear. In my previous post for Planet $ I wrote, So, the painting of our planet, which I am calling '$', has a few underlying themes. The obvious one is the plundering of resources to feed our insatiable desire/need for energy, and all the paraphenalia that is manifested as a result. The other is more subtle. It is the restriction of imagination in ways which we do not notice, via the media, education and technology. The frightening thing is that all three are entwined.
Imagination can untether us from fear. We need to stir and utilise our imaginations, releasing the grip cast by media and its constant reminder of suffering, its pithiness and gossip seeking tendencies. It could be seen as a battle between imagination and the monsters created by those without. As I wrote in my previous post, I am reminded of JK Rowling's [author of the best-selling Harry Potter book series] excellent Commencement Address, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination,” at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association, when she said, ' I think the wilfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid.'
I believe imagination provides the light to places beyond. Please see Becoming The Light, below Planet $
 Planet $ Oil on linen 30 x 30 cm 2011

 Becoming The Light Oil on linen 160 x 120 cm 2011


Rosalie Rigby said...

I love your use of blue Kathryn. I especially like the work "Hope in the distance".

Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox said...

Thank you Rosalie. I will admit to being drawn to blue! Thanks for visiting again. Kathryn