Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective Oil on linen 91 x 137 cm 2014
If the entire history of the Universe were rescaled to one year, humans wouldn’t appear until 14 seconds before midnight on December 31. Big History Project
This certainly puts things into perspective!
Regular readers will know I have written about the Big History Project before. It is an education program designed to stretch our understanding of the Universe and humanity's place within it. Such a broad perspective lifts our gaze so that we see all the close and far distances of the micro and macro. My previous posts are Time Travelling  and Complexity
Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective
In this new painting I have imagined life, represented by the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life, taking a journey. It weaves its way into Space, travelling around a planet before seemingly turning back to reflect upon where it has come from. The tree is firmly grounded on a Mother planet. Will it release itself once it knows more about itself and the 'environment' it has explored? Will it return with new knowledge, insight and wisdom? Is the Mother planet Earth? Or is the green planet Earth? Maybe neither is Earth? Maybe both are Earth? One representing a denuded landscape, a result of an apocalyptic event and the other Earth's past fertile glory. There are many alternative interpretations. Just the way I like it! Playing with perspective!
So, as you imagine life taking a cosmic perspective what do you see?
My reactions to imagining a cosmic perspective are a mixture of comfort, frustration and hope. Comfort that I am part of something much bigger than me and that one day I will return to its source. Frustration that contemporary society seems to be developing habitual responsiveness to the short distance between computer or phone, thus very often missing the opportunity to appreciate a broader perspective on issues. The short distance between a person and a phone, according to an optometrist I spoke with, is causing myopia at younger ages. As a metaphor for myopic understanding its pretty frightening! But, I am hopeful too. Hopeful that contemporary cosmology, the study of the close and far spatial and temporal distances of the Universe [maybe even Multiverse], will catapult perspective, in its multiplicity of dimensions, into everyday thinking and experience. It is far too fascinating and inviting to not look up, out and beyond our phones. Crossing fingers!
The tree in Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective not only explores new perspectives of its original environment and its wider Universal environment, but in turning back on itself it also sees itself differently...or maybe its the first time it has reflected upon itself? Perspective is not just about seeing our world and our universal environment differently, but also ourselves.
Regular readers will know of my fascination with the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life symbol. I believe age-old symbols hold truths that are meaningful across ages. The tree's symbolism of life transcends time. I attempt to unleash the tree-of-life from traditional visual interpretations to extract and reveal meaning that is relevant in the 21st century. I see the tree's branches as representative of systems of all kinds both natural and human-made...but all promoting and sustaining life....revelling in the awe...shifting our perspective...dancing across the Universe. The tree helps me create what I call cosmic landscapes...acknowledging that concepts of landscape need to be untethered from Earth-bound horizons...to help shift our horizons and add to our understanding of perspective.
The tree is both a conduit and a connector, to past and future history, to our Earth and to the energy forces of the Universe. As a symbol of the urge for life it goes way beyond the 14 seconds before midnight on December 31.
Detail of Life Takes A Cosmic Perspective - Work in process
My painting Super Earths Discovered is a finalist in the award.
The exhibition of finalist paintings and some 3D works is really good. I am pleased to have been chosen to be a part of the exhibition. My painting 'Super Earths Discovered' hangs with some great company. However, I did not win the prize. An artist from down south, Dena Kahan won...and a big congratulations to her! You can see details of the exhibition, the Stanthorpe Arts Festival and an image of Dena's winning work by visiting the Arts Festival page HERE

And here's an article which appeared in the local Stanthorpe Border Post

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