Thursday, July 03, 2014


Beacon Oil on linen 91 x 102 cm 2014
As regular readers know I love the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life symbol. Regular readers will also know that I do not visually interpret the tree-of-life in traditional forms. Rather I cascade it across canvases creating vast, complex and intricate scapes. Or, I use it as a beacon, on cosmic inspires scapes, heralding and rejoicing the persistence of life, hope and energy.
I aim to untether the tree-of-life from traditional visual portrayals as a way to explore its symbolic potency in the 21st century. The tree-of-life and the tree-of-knowledge have long held meaning across eons, cultures and religions. The persistence of the tree's capacity to hold and give meaning tells me that it still has something to give us, yet we must untether it from past visual interpretations to explore, and find, what this might be.
As I have previously written the tree's branching appearance mirrors all kinds of systems, from natural to human-made ones. Think of vascular systems, cross sections of internal organs, river systems, mountain ranges...and for human-made systems, think of aerial views of road networks, flight paths, technology's unseen energy waves and more. All systems propel life in some form or another. .
So it is to LIFE that I now turn to...the tree as a beacon for all of LIFE, past, present, future. It contains history in a way that collapses history where past, present and future are one. It extends beyond human history to that of the Universe...if not the Multiverse! Humanity was not present at the beginning of the Universe, but life in its broadest sense, began then. The tree, for me at least, is the perfect form to take as a symbol that encapsulates all of LIFE. That's why I use it as a beacon.
The painting above Beacon has the tree-of-life at centre stage. It's two 'roots' create an impression of an outline of a mountain...a landscape. Yet, these 'roots' could be tethers unleashed, allowing the tree to take flight as a meaningful symbol...into the 21st century! The background is indeterminate. Is it the sky, outer space, inside a bubble or a raindrop? And the white balls...are they planets, cells, atoms, other universes? Whatever they are, they seem to watch over the tree, at the same time as being illuminated by it.
My thoughts about untethering the tree-of-life from traditional visual interpretations are coupled with my quest to untether ideas of landscape from Earth-bound horizons. Untethering is necessary because 21st century cosmological research is pushing the boundaries/horizons of the close and far distances of the Universe. If humanity is to grasp new horizons and perspectives with curiosity and bravery, we need to embrace science, but also symbols and artistic interpretations that engage and include us in the ever changing wonder. I suspect our physical and spiritual survival depends on it!
My next solo exhibition is called Untethering Landscape
Here are some more paintings where I have painted the tree as a beacon...of hope and life.
 Hope Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013
 Are We There Yet? Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013
 Untethered Landscape Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm 2013
 Playing With Landscape Oil on linen 80 x 90 cm 2013
Super Earths Discovered Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2013
 Surrendering Horizon 100 x 150 cm 2014
New World Habitability - Vacation Anyone? Oil on linen 70 x 102 cm 2014
Next Solo Exhibition
                                             UNTETHERING LANDSCAPE
2 - 14 September 2014
To see the exhibition webpage please click HERE

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