Tuesday, January 28, 2014


Surrendering Horizon Oil on linen 100 x 150 cm 2014
I return to the concept of 'horizon'. Yes, the concept...horizon as a metaphor as well as a literal element of landscape. But then again 'landscape' can be used as a metaphor for our internal psyches. The dance between the literal and metaphoric entices, excites, probes and ultimately extends the 'horizon/s' of our thinking.
I wrote a post recently called The Universe Draws You Out Like A Multi-Dimensional Horizon The painting and the post were inspired by well known Australian author Tim Winton's speech The Island Seen and Felt: Some Thoughts About Landscapes: presented at the Royal Academy in London, November 2013. You can listen to it at the Royal Academy's site HERE  The idea that horizon exists within us, to be drawn out by the Universe is really exciting. It alludes to the fact that we are part of the landscape, not separate from it, physically, emotionally or spiritually. After all, when we die we literally return to 'landscape' in burial or cremation. And, when our planet finally reaches its demise, a few billion years away, we and Earth return to the stars...to the 'landscape' of the Universe.
In Surrendering Horizon [above] I have 'torn' the horizon line away from the landscape. It now seems to draw the landscape towards new perspectives, as it enjoys relinquishing its tethered state. It almost playfully entices the landscape to reach out, and in this process, lifts its 'eyes' towards Universal [possibly even Multiversal] distance.
The untethered horizon offers the opportunity to look back from its playful place...to look back at Earth...and to look back at Earth placed within its Universal environment. Indeed, from a distance, not only is the planet visible for scrutiny, but so is its position amongst other celestial bodies. I wonder how important manmade borders and boundaries appear from distance that places Earth within a Universal perspective? I wonder how vulnerably beautiful our planet looks...this vulnerability and beauty imploring us to think more expansively about how we live on, love and share Earth?
Regular readers will notice my tree...the age-old transcultural/religious tree of life. Notice that I have painted it the same colour as the mountainous horizon and the untethered one. I'll let you think about that!

And, something else to think about. The title Surrendering Horizon ...is the horizon surrendering itself or are we surrendering it...or both?
And, more about landscape. My brother Wilfred Brimblecombe has recently taken some amazing photographs of the landscape surrounding the family farm, which was sold in the 1980s. Please visit his website WILFRED BRIMBLECOMBE: Photography, Stories, Ephemera future and past  There are a couple of terrific photographs of rain falling but evaporating before it hits the ground.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Dizzying Perspective [inspired by Tim Winton] Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm 2014
Dizzying Perspective relates to my last two posts and their accompanying new paintings Falling Out Into It and The Universe Draws You Out Like A Multi-Dimensional Horizon Yes, again the terrific speech The Island Seen and Felt: Some Thoughts About Landscapes by Tim Winton at London's Royal Academy in November 2013 has struck a chord of inspiration in me! You can hear the speech HERE
Dizzying Perspective is deceptively simple....so say myself! For me....there are many questions-Are we drawn towards the dark circle? Are we propelled away from it? Is it the only point of reference? Is it solid or is it a new portal? Where am I in relation to the 'scape' before me? Is it a vast 'scape' or a microscopic one? Is the dark circle Earth or is it a galactic body seen from Earth? Or, maybe Earth is nowhere around in this part of the Universe? Where am I?
I am sure you might have even more questions.
Words by Tim Winton, which I previously quoted in my earlier post Falling Out Into It, have again inspired me:   At night in the desert the sky sucks at you, star-by-star, galaxy-by-galaxy. You feel as if you could fall out into it at any moment. It's terrifyingly vertiginous.
This time the bit that got me excited is It's terrifyingly vertiginous. Why? Because, I sense that Winton uses the word terrifying, not simply to suggest a scary physical experience where loss of balance and dizziness induce stumbling and nausea. Metaphorically speaking terrifyingly vertiginous may be more about the revelatory possibilities of new insights and perspectives revealed in the process of letting go...falling out into it.
But, I want to return to my previously mentioned ideas of untethering landscape from Earth-bound horizons. The terrifyingly vertiginous experience of falling out into the Universe is provocative, because it invites us to let go of Earth-bound horizons. It actually demands us to leave the safety of the known to welcome new perspectives of ourselves, our planet and our Universal environment.
Essentially, I think, Tim Winton suggests we confront fears of letting go, fears of the unknown, fears of shifting perspectives. I've been with people who are literally fearful of the distance in the Australian landscape. These people, mainly city born and bred or from Europe, actually expressed their fears in words and with real physical reactions. They felt more than uncomfortable with the open skies and the vast often desolate distances. Their physical reactions were obvious: strange tiredness, gripping themselves or anchor points in a vehicle, normally confident gaits affected by trepidation, eyes darting hither and thither...all signs suggesting a sense of vertigo. But, maybe we need to place ourselves at the mercy of distance, fall out into it, let go...and in the terrifying vertiginous experience we may discover new ways to live and be, new questions and thus possible answers to problems that are plaguing us with their intensity and danger. Who knows? But, I suggest it is worth trying!
Dizzying Perspective is similar to an earlier painting which I called Where? This painting asks questions to, indeed its title is a question. It asks about time and space. Both paintings, I sense, move beyond their physical limits of size ie: 50 x 50 cm. There is something quite satisfying about painting an image of Universal vastness on a 50 x 50 cm canvas! A bit like the size differential of Dr. Who's marvellous Tardis.
Where? Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm
My entry for the biennial $20,000 Stanthorpe Art Prize has been selected as a finalist. This means that the actual painting now gets sent to Stanthorpe to hang with the other finalists and to be considered for the prize which is announced at the end of February. I shall keep you posted!

Monday, January 13, 2014


The Universe Draws You Out Like A Multi-Dimensional Horizon [Inspired by Tim Winton]
Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm
I am again going to refer to Australian author Tim Winton's wonderful speech The Island Seen and Felt: Some Thoughts About Landscapes: presented at the Royal Academy in London, November 2013. You can listen to it at the Royal Academy's site HERE
My previous posts, where I wax lyrical about the speech, are ENCOUNTERING LANDSCAPE and FALLING OUT INTO IT The latter is also the title of a new painting, inspired by a phrase in Winton's speech.
Now to another of Winton's phrases which also struck chords with me, On my island the heavens draw you out like a multidimensional horizon... His island, is Australia...my island too.
Regular readers will totally 'get' why this phrase grabbed my heart and my imagination. I often write about my ideas on the need to develop skills in seeing multi-perspectives [even simultaneously]. I am sure that modern cosmology, with its exciting explorations into close and far distances, is inviting us to see new perspectives. AND, with these new and multiple perspectives, potentially seen simultaneously, who knows what new questions and answers, ie: metaphoric horizons, will be revealed!
So...yes...perspective invites us to also consider horizons, both literal and metaphoric. Indeed, contemporary cosmological research is pushing our horizons in all directions. For example, the Universe maybe a Multiverse...now that's a huge shift in horizon don't you think! But Winton's words that the heavens [ie: the Universe/Night sky] draw you out like a multidimensional horizon suggest that horizons are not just 'out there' but that they exist within us, as if we are landscape too, as if we have horizons imbedded in our psyches connecting us with the Universal landscape of existence. As Winton's speech seems to suggest, in the distance of the Australian landscape there's space to sense these horizons, be absorbed by them, discover new ones...or maybe even return to them?
My new painting above The Universe Draws You Out Like A Multi-Dimensional Horizon is one of the images that came to my mind when I read Winton's evocative words. The three coloured lines create amorphous shapes which mirror many of the patterns and shapes seen under a microscope, but also seen in Space. The play between the micro and macro is deliberate, yet at the same time the viewer feels drawn into a portal, as if finally finding a connection to the Universe, in all its diversity...a dance with all horizons.

Many of my paintings go 3D when viewed with 3D glasses [not the movie ones though...simple ones] and this painting is one of them. The longer you look at it the more 3D it goes with each line separating even further as if it is tugging at you...yes tugging at your inner horizons!

Are We There Yet? Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013
Two interesting website/articles have made me think more about horizons...being drawn out of us. One is a collaborative artwork/project called The Moon by two famous artists, Ai Weiwei and Olafur Eliasson. It's a site where, once logged in, people can draw on the Moon! You can read more about the project in a ARTnews article  'How Ai Weiwei and Olafur Eliasson Got 35,000 People to Draw on the Moon' by Robin Cembalest. You can draw on the Moon by clicking HERE [Firefox or Chrome].
The Moon project is interesting because it gets people thinking beyond Earth-bound horizons, even if they are doing in the short distance between themselves and their computer. It is also significant because as Ai Weiwei is restricted from leaving China, yet he is able to collaborate with Olafur Eliasson in a project that has attracted thousands of people from around the world... AND, it's 'on the moon'! This poses interesting questions about man-made boundaries and borders, which indeed pale into insignificance when 'viewed' with a lunar, or even better a cosmic, perspective. The power of imagination is up to the challenge to breakdown restrictions that keep perspective limited! I think projects like Ai Weiwei's and Eliasson's The Moon are more than important.
The second thing of interest is a fascinating article in The Melbourne Age called The First Astronomers, by Andi Horvath. It's an article about Australian Indigenous Astronomy. As the opening sentence says As Australia has the oldest continuous culture on Earth, the first Australians were very likely to have also been the first astronomers. The article goes onto discuss how astrophysicist Ray Norris and wildlife expert Cilla Norris in 2008 documented Aboriginal Astronomy stories told by community elders. This resulted in their book Emu Dreaming: An Introduction To Australian Aboriginal Astronomy. The Melbourne Age article goes onto discuss astrophysicist Alan Duffy's recent experiences, teaching indigenous and non-indigenous astronomy, in schools in the Pilbara.
There is one section of the article that got me really thinking...yes about perspective...and horizons:
Dr Duffy explained to the students that Indigenous astronomy is a great example of how sophisticated Aboriginal science and culture was through its development. He also explored the fundamental difference in the way traditional European astronomy conceives the constellations by connecting the dots of stars to form pictures attributed to Greek mythology, whereas Aboriginal astronomy connects not just the stars but also the black spaces in-between. Two different ways of viewing the same night’s sky!

"The school kids were very excited by the “emu in the sky” which stretches out in what European astronomers call the Milky Way,” he says. “Once you see it, you can never look at the Milky Way the same way again. As a constellation, it is far more convincing than the obscure European pictures."

So...for me key phrases are: Two different ways of viewing the same night’s sky! and ...you can never look at the Milky Way the same way again. Methinks Tim Winton's observation that On my island the heavens draw you out like a multidimensional horizon...is spot on!



Sunday, January 05, 2014


Falling Out Into It Oil on linen 70 x 120 cm 2014
[Inspired By Time Winton]

At night in the desert the sky sucks at you, star-by-star, galaxy-by-galaxy. You feel as if you could fall out into it at any moment. It's terrifyingly vertiginous.
[Quote: 'Wild Brown Land' an edited transcript in 'The Australian' December 14, 2013 of The Island Seen and Felt: Some Thoughts About Landscapes by well known Australian author Tim Winton, presented to the Royal Academy, London, November 14, 2013.] You can listen to the speech HERE

Tim Winton's words are amazing. When I read them, and others, images popped into my head and resonances were deeply felt. In a recent post  ENCOUNTERING LANDSCAPE I write more generally about the speech and my reaction to it. However, there are some phrases that have stayed with me, their words mulled over, eliciting the kind images in my mind that asked to be painted.

I grew up on a grain farm on the flat treeless Pirrinuan Plain, outside Dalby on the Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia. I remember vertiginous feelings when, as a child, I'd lie on soft clover staring at the sky. I remember my Dad had a marvellous vegetable garden that also grew the lushest clover. I'd lay down on it and immediately feel like I was flying and sinking at the same time...that is until the day I noticed the prickles had started to form!

The vast sky of my childhood, uninterrupted by mountains or trees, has stayed with me. During the day it was mostly a relentless blue. But, now and then storm clouds would roll majestically across the plain. These clouds, nuanced with colours of grey, black and indigo blue were sometimes tinged with a green hue, a sign of hail. At night the sky, if uncluttered by clouds, glittered with the Milky Way, a swathe of jewel-like lights. My grandmother, a keen star gazer, often took my brothers and me out into the night to see various constellations, our necks bent back so we could take it all in. However, a stormy night sky was another experience. Lightning giving momentary spotlight to features we knew well, as if demanding us to take notice.

So, the quote from Tim Winton's speech grabbed my attention! The significant bit is fall out into it. Not fall out from it, but fall out into it, as if gravity might release its grip on us. These beautifully simple few words capture so much of my thoughts about perspective, distance...and the possibilities that new ways of seeing, new perspectives, can reveal different questions and answers to the issues that plague humanity.

We possibly need to feel a sense of terrifying vertigo in order to disrupt the norm, to recalibrate senses, to disturb the status quo, to re-ignite awe and wonder...and more. To deliberately welcome this kind of disruption, and even agitate for it, is quite subversive, don't you think? Agitation does not have to be outrageous, aggressive or in-your-face. Indeed, maybe a deliberately
contemplative state leading to a kind of dizziness that helps to ultimately shift perspective is more revolutionary than trying really hard to make a point via didactic means, aggressive and not? Maybe, lying down on the grass to stare at the sky, welcoming that sense of falling into it, is all we need to do, both literally and metaphorically. Yes, let's look up from our smart phones and computers!

I love the idea of 'falling out into it' for another, but related reason. Regular readers will know of my interest in untethering notions of 'landscape' from Earth-bound horizons. The idea of 'falling out into it'...into the Universe...is a way to assist imagination to grasp the concept! The cosmos is calling, imploring...

Falling Out Into It Oil on linen 70 x 120 cm 2014
So, to my new painting. With Falling Out Into It I wanted to create a 'landscape' that was ambiguous in orientation and locale. I wanted a sense of transparency where parts of the landscape revealed the cosmos through itself, as if the viewer could move into and beyond the 'landscape', like a traveller through time and matter, ultimately becoming time and matter... or maybe remembering them? I wanted to create a sense that the viewer was literally falling out into the night sky, the Universe. Yet, there's a possibility of grabbing onto the 'landscape' of mountains too, before letting go and travelling further...! Metaphorically speaking...think of the possibilities for psyche.

Falling Out Into It is similar to another painting I did last year. Multiple Landscapes [below] also has a sense of disorientation. It's a painting that explores the possibility of seeing multiple perspectives, even simultaneously. And, I'd suggest that in a vertiginous state one would see multiple landscapes especially if you kept your eyes open! Now there's a clue....

Multiple Landscapes Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013

Happy New Year to you all!