Tuesday, September 23, 2014


I Spy Oil on linen 36 x 36 cm 2014

Out of the 20 paintings I exhibited in my recent exhibition Untethering Landscape: From Earth-Bound Horizons I Spy [above] was my Mum's favourite. She had seen most of the paintings prior to the exhibition, although there were a couple of new ones. However, seeing the paintings leaning up against my studio walls is quite different to seeing them hanging in a gallery space. But, Mum did notice I Spy both at my studio and at the gallery, so there must be something about it that grabbed her attention.

Me at Untethering Landscape Brisbane September 2014
L to R: New World Habitability, Vacation Anyone? - Pale Blue Dot - Point Of View

I briefly wrote in a previous post called Waiting For The Beeps about I Spy.
Yes. I have a concern that reliance on technology...even simple things like parking sensors and the like...will 'train' us to be unaware of our environment. We won't even think to do simple things like...look out the windows! How would we cope with the game I SPY?'

Playing I SPY
When my children were little I entertained them on long drives with games like I SPY. My Mum also played these sorts of games with me and my two brothers.

But, on long car trips these days children can be entertained by watching videos on screens imbedded in the car, computer games and the like. Their parents can also be entertained by gadgets or they can keep working! Yikes... even the driver can still work with hands-free phone systems enabling endless 'conferences' with clients and customers. At least, for the time being, the driver must still look out the windows, but other occupants don't need to. There is a possibility that a car can be full of people each with ear plugs connecting them to phone conversations, music and other audio distractions. Imagine...well we don't need to imagine because I think in some places it already happens...the occupants in a car can be oblivious to their external surroundings and even to their fellow occupants. Bonuses, I suppose, are fewer sibling fights and angry reprimands from frustrated parents!

But, what disappears with inattention to the environment? I suggest that landscape, in all its permutations, disappears. I've previously written a post called Disappearing Landscape

Spying and Surveillance
Spying has taken interesting twists and turns in the last couple of decades. Surveillance by governments of others, and their own citizens, has reached amazing detailed and technological heights. Indeed, the Wikileaks and Edward Snowden revelations have caused major concern, controversy as well as interest. Spying on spies! But, 'spying' on others is not only the realm of governments and their agencies, police and other security forces. 'Monitoring' of all kinds of information, online behaviour and more, by companies and individuals, is becoming common. People can be tracked via their computer or phone. They can be tracked via surveillance cameras, particularly in cities. Our actions, behaviours, likes, dislikes and more are collected as data which is then scrutinised for aberrations, memes, trends and so on.

The world is just one big 'EYE' and an 'EAR'

Watching...Listening...Watching...Listening................................like a nosey neighbour!

Yet, sometimes the nosey neighbour does notice things that, at the extreme, can save lives. Scrutiny, surveillance...spying...are part and parcel of 21st century life, for the good and the bad.

But, what about my painting I spy?
We also monitor and observe space, and have been doing so since human time began. Watching and observing the night sky has been a source of wonder over eons, giving birth to a wealth of knowledge and expression. Contemporary cosmological research, with its array of scientific and philosophical disciplines, has revealed a plethora of details about our Universe [and maybe Multiverse].

The search for extra terrestrial intelligence [SETI] involves scrutiny as well as enticements to communicate with us. Just imagine if we received an answer? But, maybe we have and just not noticed?

We do, however, use space to inhabit with satellites that are used to assist surveillance, of many kinds, back on Earth.

In my painting two circles hover, as if they are watching each other.

The small red one - 'I spy with my little eye something beginning with P'.
The multi-coloured one - 'I spy with my little eye something beginning with P'


Well maybe! But, neither 'planet' in I Spy has to be Earth...there are billions of galaxies and to suggest that we are the only ones watching and listening...spying...is intriguingly unlikely!

But, maybe my two coloured hovering balls are not planets...maybe one is a planet and the other a surveillance satellite?  Yet, they could be atoms, cells, thoughts, dust...star dust? It's up to you really!

Life Calling! Anyone There?
The painting below Life Calling! Anyone There? was inspired by the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. But, there's a twist...I think there's plenty of 'life' calling for attention here on Earth too.
I made a very short video with me chatting about this painting...it's below the painting.

 Life Calling! Anyone There? Oil on linen 70 x 140 cm 2014

21 September - 21 November
Please visit my online exhibition at my website by clicking HERE

1 comment:

Audubon Ron said...

I love the video clips. I am moving from curious to inquisitive by your paintings and your commentary adds that much more depth.