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 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 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 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 spot on!



1 comment:

Audubon Ron said...

The first painting to me: Wave–particle duality.