Tuesday, February 25, 2014


New World Habitability: Vacation Anyone? Oil on linen 70 x 102 cm 2014
All the talk about possible Earth-like...even super-Earth-like...planets being discovered, 1000s of light years away, has sent my imagination into overdrive.
Firstly though, what makes a planet potentially Earth-like? It needs to be in the 'Goldilocks zone' of a star...a zone where it is not too hot nor too cold, thus predisposing it to potentially having water and therefore possibly sustaining life. This orbit area is actually called the habitable zone. 
But what is intriguing me is the possibility that newly discovered Super-Earths, may provide not just plain ordinary habitability, but SUPER-habitability. That means they may be more habitable than our own Earth. We tend to think of our planet as being generously and generally habitable. We use, abuse, augment, love, traverse, sustain, mine, farm, destroy, ogle, paint, reserve/preserve, film our wonderful Earth. Until relatively recently we've not necessarily thought about the long term impacts of our more industrious uses of Earth's land, water and air....the things that make it habitable for us. Yet recent realisations, debates and weather events have made us feel somewhat vulnerable.
[You can check out the Super-habitability theory HERE Once you have read this just Google for more info.]
Ok...so it's a long-shot that there are super-habitable Super-Earths out there somewhere. The search for them is thoroughly tantalising though, for many reasons. The 'pastures greener on the other side' gives hope that when our Earth reaches its demise, either at our hands or with our Sun's death throes, there's somewhere better for us to go. I suggest, that even though it's a loooong shot, this makes us feel slightly less vulnerable. After all we do have faith in science and technology, and you just never know what capacities and capabilities they will provide us in the future...space travel and more.
And, my goodness, when we arrive at our new super-home other creatures may greet us! Space playmates maybe? The imagination certainly helps blur the borders between science fiction and science. Yet, a fertile imagination and a sense of wonder are necessary for both.
New World Habitability: Vacation Anyone?
And, my painting New World Habitability: Vacation Anyone? is meant to be fun...but also thought provoking.
The landscape from which the tree-of-life grows is not lush and green. It's as if the last seed has found the final place for growth. Is this barren landscape our future Earth? Maybe...maybe not. The tree, however, reaches out searching for other life. Two planets are visible, one green and lush with ample water, the other perhaps a little colder and icier. The tree's branch searches for life amongst the cosmos, seeking habitable zones around distant stars. The viewer is unsure whether the tree misses the lush planet, or whether another tree, out of the picture, has also found a new 'home' or maybe a place to vacation! Imagine sharing our super-habitable Super-Earth!
And, here's another scenario. What if, in the far distant future, some Earthlings are sent to other planets, that turn out not to be all that habitable, but not totally hostile...like the sparse and spare landscape in the foreground of my painting. What if there are THE Chosen who remain on Earth, which has blossomed with the aid of 'Super Science' and massive forced de-population? Maybe the lush green planet is Earth, albeit an augmented one?
It does not really matter what the description of the painting is. The thing that really interests me is humanity's constant search for life. My much loved age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life does it again! It symbolises life, in a meaningful way transcending time and transporting us to eternal possibilities.
New World Habitability: Vacation Anyone? is another attempt to untether concepts of landscape from Earth-bound horizons. If not a complete untethering it certainly provides a few different perspectives, literal, metaphoric and symbolic.
Here are some other posts where I have written about a search for a new 'home'.
Flick Of A Switch: Some Thoughts About Two Films This starts with a very short story. I then discuss the films Elysium and The Hunger Games [no 1] where there are populations of The Chosen and those that are not.
Stanthorpe Art Prize.
The award is announced on Friday night 28 February. My paintings Super Earths Discovered is a finalist. Shall keep you posted!
www.kathrynbrimblecombe-fox.com  I have recently updated my website, so please check it out.

Monday, February 17, 2014

SEEKING 'HOME'- An online exhibition of selected cosmic paintings.

 Are We There Yet? Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013

Ok, we're going travelling...into 'Space' to other 'planets'...well in our imaginations anyway.

And, these paintings are going to help us.

Sit tight!


Imagine the balls in Are We There Yet? are our nifty hi-tech spacecraft. We're safely tethered together as we trip across the red skies cloaking the rugged landscape below. Is it Earth? Maybe, maybe not?

But who keeps asking 'Are we there yet?'
Where yet? Where are we going? Do we need to go somewhere? Where are we leaving? Will we return? Have we actually left?

Suddenly, we skim the surface of the planet in On My Travels I Saw sweeping in a low arc across its steely landscape...as if it's our last chance...our last gasp...a good bye.

We drift...and then...

On My Travels I Saw Oil on canvas 90 x 100 cm 2013

Ah ha! We are now flying towards what seem like more planets, like mini-planets. Strange indeed.
And yet, they seem vaguely familiar. A strange sense of playful juggling entices. What is being juggled? Who are the jugglers? Is it really playful? As we get closer we realise remnants of landscape tilt and sway, debris of a past existence. Not playful at all...a ruse perhaps?
A disquiet enters the atmosphere.
We try to look back to where we have come from...it's gone!
Playing With Landscape Oil on linen 80 x 90 cm 2013
We flounder, we go Here To There And Everywhere in our minds, hearts and bodies. We seek an anchor, a point of reference...home. 'Ahoy!' we call, anyone there?
Here To There And Everywhere Oil on canvas 60 x 110cm 2013
Seeking, seeking, seeking...the habitable zone. What? Our mission is at last revealed. We're seeking an alternative Earth, a new home. And, it might be a SUPEREARTH! But, it has to be just right, like Goldilock's porridge, not too hot and not too cold...meaning there might be water! Water!
We remember water, oceans and rivers...rain. Our imaginations drink it in, float upon it, swim.
Other Worlds Ahoy! beckon, seduce, entice...but we must be careful of  'mermaids' seeking hapless travellers.
The tree...a symbol of life. It stirs our viscera, knowingly.
Other Worlds Ahoy! Oil on linen 80 x 90 cm 2013
 Super Earths Discovered Oil on line 80 x 140 cm 2013

Lucky us! We find our alternative Earth in the Goldilock's zone of another star.
There's water, a fresh atmosphere, flora and fauna of all kinds. Some of it is a little familiar, some not. It's abundant...one could say SUPER abundant. Our SUPEREARTH has SUPER habitability, not just plain ordinary Earth-like habitability.
The memory of Earth tugs on our consciences.
Are we there yet?
 Planet $ Oil on linen 30 x 30 cm 2011



Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Landscape With A View Oil on linen 90 x 140 cm
There are a number of ways to interpret Landscape With A View and the idea of 'landscape with a view'.
The landscape, in Landscape With A View, has a literal view/s. It has a view of itself and one of the Universe with all its multiple perspectives...just like any real landscape. There's the inward gaze and the outward one, each revealing a plethora a views! But, maybe there's another landscape, from a nearby planet, that is 'viewing'?
There's another way to interpret 'view'. If we imagine Landscape having some kind of consciousness, maybe it has a 'view' of how it is used, changed, regenerated, destroyed, loved, depicted, valued, dissected, nationalised and more? James Lovelock's Gaia Theory suggests that the Earth is a sentient being capable of self-restoration and replenishment...so perhaps this sentience has a self reflective or referential element enabling it to transform as needed? But, the question I ask myself is...would Earth be the only planet with these abilities?
To go a bit further...if you imagine the Universe as the largest 'landscape' and that everything in it is comprised of elements created at the Big Bang, then we humans are 'landscape' as well. We are star dust too. But, are we the only conscious beings in the Universe? Indeed, if there are other conscious beings they will also be part of the large Universal landscape. Yet, until we have proof of their existence, it's our eyes only 'taking in the view'. However, with sight and experience we form opinions, make judgements, reflect and form viewpoints. By engendering a kind of anthropomorphism of Earth, and even other galactic entities, do we give them a kind of  'sight' and therefore possible viewpoints?
Landscape With A View
So to my painting Landscape With A View. There is no horizon line. Rather there is a kind of reflectivity of and within landscape, creating a sense of multiple landscapes. In fact, this painting relates to an earlier one I actually called Multiple Landscapes The idea of multiple landscapes suggests that each witnesses the other, acknowledging existence...ongoing. The viewer ie: you and me, is in relationship with the literal landscape and also depictions of it, like my painting. And, as part of the landscape...remember the star dust...we are both viewer and the viewed.
In Landscape With A View the eye is drawn by light into the image where the landscapes meet, slightly off- centre. Yet, whilst the reference to mountains, valleys and other landscape elements is evident, the placement of these forms against a dark and brooding Universal sky slices into the perspective, transforming the 'negative spaces' into 'landscape' as well. The vibrant colour is like a fissure in dark space, perhaps  a promise or a safe haven, yet maybe a dangerous lure.
Multiple Landscapes Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013
Untethering Landscape
So as regular readers will know...I am attempting to untether notions of landscape from Earth-bound horizons. The genre of landscape painting is as old as mankind. From early rock paintings, to traditional and contemporary depictions, landscape is a pervasive kind of visual anchoring for humanity. But, as modern cosmology is revealing more and more about the Universe I suggest we need to extend our concepts of landscape to orientate humanity with new kinds of anchors...cosmic ones! I am not a scientist and I am not interested in illustrating or providing 'artists' impressions' of newly discovered planets, energy forces or other phenomena. What I am interested in doing [or attempting] is to capture a kind of awe, to seek out symbolic meaning, connect the past and future, visually explore concepts of literal and metaphoric perspective, stir excitement, pose questions.
My painting, chosen as a finalist in the $20.000 Stanthorpe Art Prize, will be collected by the freighters on this coming Friday. The exhibition opening and prize announcement is Friday 28th February. Fingers crossed.  My painting is Super Earths Discovered
I am opening Korean born artist Sung Kyo Kim's first exhibition East Meets West: Chinese characters meet pop-art. The exhibition dates are 20 February - 2 March at Graydon Gallery, 29 Merthyr Rd, New Farm, Brisbane, Australia. Sung's paintings are informed by traditional Korean folkloric techniques which he uses to transform Chinese characters into pop-art visual good wishes.
Please check out Sung's website HERE

Monday, February 03, 2014


Watching The Universe Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm [unframed]

The farmer...was pointing out that the rain had the cotton crop’s attention – pointing out a change in demeanor of the crop that only a farmer could notice.

My brother, photographer Wilfred Brimblecombe, wrote this in a recent post on his BLOG Wilfred Brimblecombe: Photography, Stories, Ephemera future and past

It made me think about sixth sense...that feeling you get when you know something might happen, an intuition, a knowing, a connection.

Wilfred was writing about a photograph he had taken, a marvellous image of rain falling... but evaporating before hitting the ground. The photograph was taken on a farm not far from the grain farm where we both grew up. The owner of the property, where Wilfred took the photograph, is a childhood friend. He has been on the farm all his life, over half a century. You can see Wilfred's photograph by clicking HERE

In the foreground of the photograph is a cotton crop. The heavy clouds release rain, like a lace curtain against a far off sunset. Yet, the rain does not hit the ground. The flat horizon provides a clear and dramatic backdrop for the suspended rain...a suspended promise.

The farmer's sense of knowing...his sentient connection to his crop...as if he feels the crops relief that rain is on its way. Now that's interesting!

Elemental Oil on linen 50 x 94 cm 2009

I'll tell you about some more instances of sixth sense. And, these involve me and snakes.

As regular readers know, I grew up on a grain farm and then spent nearly two decades further west, in Goondiwindi, Queensland, Australia. We had many experiences with snakes on my parent's farm, especially during Spring and Summer. My brothers and I very quickly developed a sixth sense about where and when snakes might appear. I realise now that this was just part and parcel of being connected to the land...a knowing.

So to three snake stories...and there were many more than that...but three will do.

In Goondiwindi I lived on acreage outside town. I developed a large and beautiful garden. I mowed with a ride-on mower...it took me hours! Parts of the garden were more wild than others and if it had rained the long grass was rampant. I remember mowing grass that was about 60cm high. It was thick and lush and I had to force the mower through its density. I came to the outer garden fence, where there was a large gate, which I normally opened to mow both sides so the gate could open and shut easily. But, something held me back...a sense of dread...a sense of someone else being there. So instead of leaping off the mower, trudging through the grass to open the gate, I gingerly stood up, my feet straddling the mower. I could see a large, long, fat and luscious king brown snake entwined around the gate. Boy, did I sit down quickly, foot on the accelerator, going backwards.

On another occasion my brother Wilfred had come to visit us in Goondiwindi. We went for a walk in the garden and then took off over the paddock of long grass and assorted prickly plants. Suddenly I said to Wilfred, 'Stop!'. There was nothing under foot and no unusual sounds, but I had a sense of another presence. Sure enough, a huge king brown snake rustled through the grass heading towards the creek. Wilfred, almost sadly, lamented that after years of city dwelling he had lost the sixth sense of snake detection! Big sister still had it though!

But, my detection skills were not so good once I moved to the city too. Although one does not expect to see snakes in suburbia! Not long after I moved to the city I was walking along my street, just off the footpath, with some friends. It was dusk and we were going to a local restaurant for dinner. Suddenly I felt a strange tug at my skirt, at thigh height. I looked down at the same time as taking a powerful swipe with my hand. I saw the fangs of a snake gripping my skirt, lifting it out with the impact of my thwack! The snake released its grip landing a few meters away from us. We ran! I could not get over it...being struck by a snake in inner city suburbia, after years of frequent encounters with them out west. If I'd had a short skirt or pants on, the snake would probably have bitten me...ye gads!

Cosmic Dust Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm 2010

So, sixth sense? I suggest we develop it by close and recurrent interaction with our environment. We become almost one with the world, nature, patterns of life, systems. Farmers develop very acute sixth senses, like my brother's friend mentioned above. I am sure we all have various powers of sixth sense and intuition, but how are these affected as we become more separated from the natural world? We may develop other kinds of sixth sense that connect us to technology, but nature does seem to have a way of reminding us of its glorious power and strength in the face of the manmade! In fact, is it demanding us to take more notice of our separation from it?

And, what does modern cosmological research expose to us? The outer reaches of our 'environment' must include the Universe, from the quantum to the cosmic. New close and far perspectives demand our attention...look up and out from your iPhone and computer screen! The star dust within us is calling, agitating for our attention. It feels the possibility of a connection beyond our Earthly horizons...as if it wants us to re-ignite its/our sixth sense in cosmic terms. Dormancy is not an option... is it?

Remembering The Reason Why Oil on linen 100 x 60 cm

And, one last question for this post...And, if our sixth sense, in relation to land and nature is diminished, how does this parlay into concepts of landscape?

Infinity Oil on linen 100 x 70 cm 2011

Here are two other recent posts which also discuss possible outcomes of a separation from the natural world. Both are about cars and driving. Intrigued...click on the links.