Wednesday, August 28, 2013

FLICK OF A SWITCH: Some thoughts about two films.

 Super Earths Discovered Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013
By Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox

It’s time for Earthlings to flee their dying planet. Another home has been prepared. The escape ships have been built.
One by one the people arrive, ready and anxious to embark.

Nervous excitement soars as count-down commences.

The last few seconds... 3-2-1

Blast off!

A sensation of flight.

For some, the simulated experience is so comforting - the subterfuge unbelievable.

For others - a real blast off, towards a new life.

Other Worlds Ahoy! Oil on linen 80 x 90 cm 2013

The short [very short!] story above, which I wrote a few months ago, suggests a population of haves and have nots, entitled and not entitled, chosen and not. Those who are chosen and entitled appear to have taken steps to ensure they safely flee a dying planet. This is at the same time as those less fortunate, less rich or entitled are duped into a simulated experience that ultimately spells their fiery demise.

There's a suggested conspiracy! And, that life vicariously through simulated experiences, enabled by technology, may be a trick, a lie...a socially engineered outcome to facilitate freedom for the elite.

Stories of inequality with regards to safety, treatment and opportunity are rife throughout history. Social class, religion, education, money, race have all been used to justify a range of inequities from unequal opportunities to perceived value of life. Think of the sinking of the Titanic where the poorer classes were not given access to life rafts. Think of Hitler's sick and arrogant obsession with the importance of an Arian race, and his evil degradation of the Jews. Think of apartheid. And, there are more...

Still, today we have those who consider themselves the anointed and the entitled. At worst, wars ensue as the entitled try to hold onto their supporting structures in the face of unrest, criticism and change. At best, we have the social pages!

The Hunger Games and Elysium
All of this brings me to two films. One I saw awhile ago and the other I saw last weekend. The first one was 'The Hunger Games' and the second was 'Elysium'. Both films are mainstream big Hollywood type productions. Both pick up on undercurrents in society as they articulate inequality via extreme divides...chasms actually...between those who consider themselves anointed, special and/or chosen by virtue of various characteristics such as financial wealth, social class, looks, fashion...and those who seemingly have nothing, except their wits and intelligence, integrity and guts. Oh, and the latter are normally physically more adept, fitter and stronger. That's not to say the self-anointed are not intelligent though. Their intelligence is a more convergent type of intelligence with narcissistic attributes, whereas the underdog community displays a more creative and street-smart type of intelligence.

When I saw 'The Hunger Games' I felt a sense of loss for days. The depiction of the self-anointed playing computer-like hunting games with people [including children] considered less important, was depressing. The fusing of reality and simulation was un-nerving. The fact that, with a flick of a switch, predatory and sinister characters could be introduced to the game, to maim and kill the unfortunate, struck me as a reminder that we are all, in a sense, increasingly controlled by the switch. Yet the main heroine Katniss, and her accompanying hero Peeta, valiantly and intelligently reveal holes in the slippery and fashionable 'armour' of the anointed/chosen.

The over-the-top fashion, worn and paraded by the anointed, reduces them to mere caricature, but they are dangerous, because in the making of caricature, they are emptied of empathy, love and humanity. However, the non-entitled surprise the anointed by winning the game...but the viewer is made very aware that further turmoil is in store. Hence there's a second 'Hunger Games' movie coming out soon. I have not read the books, so I do not know what happens. My daughter, who has read them all, does though!

Now to 'Elysium'. Again, a story of the self-anointed using and abusing those who are not perceived as being the same. An artificial world hovering above Earth has been created for the chosen who have fled the ailing and sick planet. The less fortunate, the non-chosen, remain on Earth. Their colourless lives, literal and metaphoric, are characterised by poverty and sickness. They work, if they have a job, in industries making the gadgetry, goods and cyborgs required for the perfection on Elysium.

The inequality is reinforced by filmic use of perspective. Those on Earth look up to the visible Elysium, a shining beacon of beauty and perfection hovering in the sky, yet seemingly unattainable. And, from Elysium people look down to Earth, the degraded planet. But, I don't think up and down in space is as simple as that! It's only when Max, the main character, in a reminiscing scene from his childhood, is shown a photo of Earth that the perspective shifts and hope is ignited. Essentially the have-nots are saved by the wit and muscle of a few of their own. But, it's a flick of the switch that ultimately changes everything, saves the day and makes all people on Earth citizens with the same rights as those on Elysium.

Yet, in my mind, the 'message' in 'Elysium' is not about everyone being citizens of Earth - it's about being citizens of the Universe. The flick of the switch has the potential for all to stop looking just up and down, but around and beyond, to invisible horizons.

The notion that a flick of the switch can determine life, death, belonging and identity is interesting. These two films, for me at least, reveal a lot about the complexities of human desire, hope and fear in an age where technology is a partner with us in life's journey. It partners in various roles eg: as an assistant, entertainer, educator, augmenter and more. But what if these roles mutate into things less benign? In both films, characters who hurriedly program computers with codes, replaced codes, new codes and changed codes, at one instant appear to have control , but at another instant, appear to lose or abdicate control. Yes, what is real? And, what kind of partner do we want technology to be?

All Of Us Gouache on paper 15 x 21 cm 2012

Is my next solo exhibition
in Brisbane
15-27 October
Please check out  my
for all the details!

On Friday I deliver my entry to the Tattersall's Landscape Art Award which is announced next Thursday 5th September. The art award is by invitation and I am delighted to have been asked again this year. My entry is Super Earths Discovered, the painting at the top of this post. I shall keep you posted!!


Sunday, August 18, 2013


From Here To There And Everywhere Oil on linen 50 x 110 cm 2013
My new painting From Here To There And Everywhere is another 'landscape' that attempts to disrupt concepts of what and where landscape is. Regular readers will know of my intent to question how we conceive and perceive landscape, especially against a backdrop of contemporary cosmological research which propels perspective/s to limitless horizons. I think questioning is important. Why? Because, our entanglement with traditional ideas of landscape tethers perception to a well oiled groove, like a stuck record. And, this perception is not simply about how we perceive landscape, but also in our relationship with it, how we perceive ourselves.
New perspectives, revealed to us by cosmology, afford us the opportunity to recalibrate our perceptions of 'landscape' and in this process we ultimately see ourselves differently. Maybe this will ignite new ways of managing the sustainability of the planet and life on it?
My catchcry Earth maybe our home, but the Universe is our environment is a driving force for much of my work. In my imagination I travel the Universe [even Multiverse] and see 'landscapes' of all kinds. As regular readers know I grew up in the Australian landscape of Western Queensland, Australia. It tends to be my imaginal launching pad from which I 'fly' here there and everywhere. Now you see where the title for my new painting comes from!
From Here To There And Everywhere is ambiguous and deliberately so. It forces questions! Where are we? How did we get here, there or even everywhere? Are we in a space-craft, on another planet or still on Earth? The mountain range is familiar, but not. It seems to demand attention, as do the planet-like balls hovering on the other side of the mountains. Why do the mountains seem to float? It's as if they have been released...yes...untethered! They are representative of my ideas of untethering landscape...untethering it from the ties that force it to travel the well worn groove that forces the same perspective over and over again.
New cosmological research is inviting us, even demanding us, to experiment with new perspectives. I suggest we now have an opportunity to even develop skills in 'seeing' multiple perspectives simultaneously. How cool and sophisticated that would be! More importantly how significant it would be for our perception of landscape, our relationship with it and ultimately our perception of ourselves.
From Here To There And Everywhere follows another recent painting called Multiple Landscapes

Multiple Landscape Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013
Is my next solo exhibition
in Brisbane
15-27 October
Please check out  my
for all the details!
I have added some more images in the last week.


A post that has been getting a bit of attention recently is:


It was inspired, in part, by something TOP GEAR'S Jeremy Clarkson wrote in a car review.


Click HERE



Did you read my celebratory post about my 7 years blogging, posting once a week.

You can read it HERE

There's a online exhibition of a couple of paintings from each of the 7 years too!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013


 Knitted Time Gouache on paper 75.5 x 56 cm 1995
In 1995 I painted a series of works on paper that were inspired by a manuscript an author friend, Lesley Synge, had written. I did not illustrate the manuscript, but used it as a stimulus...and it was marvellous. The collaboration has been fits and exciting starts since then. And, now there's an e-book [more about this below].
In 1996 I exhibited the works on paper in a solo exhibition called KNITTED TIME at a gallery in Brisbane called Whitebox. This gallery was the precursor to the innovative Soapbox Gallery which closed a few years ago. In both instances the driving force was artist Franz Ehmann. Franz was born in Austria and I have great gratitude for him, because he exhibited my paintings when I was still living in Goondiwindi, in Western Queensland. This was at a time when arts bureaucracies tagged artists living outside cities with 'regional artist'. It sounds quite innocuous, but it was loaded with agenda-driven expectations that were very limiting. Franz, however, was not interested in tags...indeed when you come from Europe, what indeed would 'regional artist' mean? A worldly view like Franz's was so refreshing! When I moved to Brisbane I continued to exhibit at Soapbox until it closed. Its closure was a loss for Brisbane.
Knitted Time was a terrific exhibition. I had the paintings hanging around the walls at different heights. I also had small shelves made to hold items which linked to Lesley's manuscript. These items included ripped knitting patterns and leaves. Lesley's story was set at Ma Ma Creek, which is an area at the bottom of the Great Dividing Range, below Toowoomba in Queensland. The characters in the story were linked to landscape in many and interesting ways. So, I spread eucalyptus leaves all over the gallery floor...and it was quite a large space. At the opening people walked on the leaves and a wonderful eucalypt aroma wafted through the space and into the surrounding areas. Over the period of the exhibition the leaves dried, but the aroma continued.
Blood Of Possibility Mixed media on paper 75.5 x 56 cm 1995
There have been a few other events that Lesley and I have been involved with since 1995. Indeed, for Lesley there was the exciting publication of her manuscript as a book called Cry Ma Ma To The Moon! It was published in 2002 by Interactive Press, Brisbane, as the winner of Best Fiction IP Picks 2002 [under the name Singh]. I'm delighted to say that a painting of mine is on the front cover. Here's a little about the book...taken from its back cover.
Autumn. The Earth shifts and Bess begins to knit a jumper for the man she loves. She obtains wool from Clare who lives in an alternative community at Ma Ma Creek, a woman knowledgeable in the art of using eucalyptus leaves to dye wool. But with Clare’s skeins, Bess gets more than she bargained for and, as she knits, her familiar world unravels.

Set in the forests of south-eastern Queensland, Australia, Cry Ma Ma to the Moon is a story of trees and poetry, blueberries and potions, and of men, women and passion.

NOW for even more exciting news:
Cry Ma Ma To The Moon
is now available as an e-book!
there are 23 paintings of mine, one at the beginning of each chapter.
And, my painting Magic Lady is on the front cover.

You can buy the e-book at AMAZON
You can also preview the book on the AMAZON page
Spirited Team Gouache on paper 102 x 75 cm 1995
Lesley Synge's website is:        ZING STORIES
Franz Ehmann's website is:     SOAPBOX GALLERY
The Seeing Stars exhibition and art prize opens tonight 13 August at the Yarra Gallery, Federation Square, Melbourne. My painting Where? is one of the finalists. The exhibition and prize is a celebration of the SKA [Square Kilometre Array] which will be the world's largest and most sensitive telescope, and proudly co-hosted by Australia. You can check out the Seeing Stars website HERE and see the finalists HERE
Where? Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm 2013
Is my next solo exhibition
in Brisbane
15-27 October
Please check out  my
for all the details!
In my last post I mentioned I had some paintings in the Brisbane Grammar School Art Show.
This painting Elemental Dance  SOLD!
Elemental Dance Oil on linen 55 x 80 cm 2012

Monday, August 05, 2013


 Mountains and Metaphors Oil on linen 80 x 200 cm 2005
To read about this painting please click HERE and HERE
It is seven years this month since I started my BLOG
Art @ Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox 

 Unlimited Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm 2005

So, I decided to celebrate by choosing a couple of paintings from each year since 2005...I know one year before I started the BLOG... but these paintings featured in those early meanderings.
If you are interested in purchasing any of the paintings please contact me through
this BLOG or my website contact page

Shared History Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm 2006

Sending Love Oil on linen 90 x 180 cm 2007
 Into The Symphony Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm 2008
To read more about this painting please click HERE and HERE

 Seeping Into The Intimate Vastness Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm 2008

 In The Garden Of  Eden Oil on linen 50 x 94 cm 2009
To read about my Adam and Eve series please click HERE
 Halo Oil on linen 82 x 182 cm 2009

 The Beginning Of Everything Oil on linen 90 x 180 cm 2010
Cosmic Dust Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm 2010

 Underground Currency Oil on linen 80 x 100 cm 2011

 Gate Oil on linen 100 x 100 cm 2011

 Perpetual Beginning Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm 2011
This painting is in the Brisbane Grammar Art Show 9-10 August 2013

 Meeting Place Of The Mind Oil on linen 100 x 70 cm 2011

 Eternity's Breath Oil on linen 85 x 150 cm 2012
This painting will be in my next solo exhibition COSMIC ADDRESS
Details HERE

 Cosmic Ouroboros Oil on linen 120 x 150 cm 2012
Cosmic Ouroboros is the most popular post on my BLOG
This painting will be in my next solo exhibition COSMIC ADDRESS
Details HERE
 Hope Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013
                        This painting will be in my next solo exhibition COSMIC ADDRESS
Details HERE
Cosmic Address Oil on linen 90 x 180cm 2013
This painting will be in my next solo exhibition, also called COSMIC ADDRESS
Details HERE
  • Brisbane Grammar School Art Show. I was invited to exhibit again this year. I have six paintings-4 oil on linen -including Perpetual Beginning above and 2 works on paper in the exhibition. Dates are 9-10 August at the BGS school. It is their Open Day on Saturday 10 August. Click HERE for details.
  • The Seeing Stars Art Award hosted by the world's largest telescope the SKA [Square Kilometre Array] is being hung this week. The opening at federation Square, Melbourne will be Tuesday 13 August. My painting Where? is a finalist in the award. To see all the finalists please click HERE  Shall keep you posted!
  • Tattersall'a Landscape $25,000 Art Award 2013. I have again been invited to enter a painting into this great art prize and exhibition. The award is announced on September 5 at Brisbane's Tattersall's Club. From September 9-20 it will be on public view at Waterfront Place, 1 eagle St, Brisbane CBD. Shall keep you posted!