Wednesday, October 01, 2014


I heard myself ask in a discussion about religion, faith and belief;

Isn't Awe enough?

But, the word enough is in itself limiting.

What about...

Awe Is

The capital A and the capital I play beyond the realms of enough and any other descriptive word.


I Am is different to I am...the latter seemingly begs for a descriptor and thus is immediately corralled. But, I Am goes beyond any description. It just IS.

During my last exhibition Untethering Landscape I had a few discussions about awe. Yes, it's a word that can be used to describe reactions to science, nature, religion and art too. Very gratifyingly, for me, a few people said my paintings created a sense of awe in them. Wow! That's a compliment indeed. But, as you will discover below, the paintings did not create awe, they just stirred Universal memories of it!

I recently read a very interesting article Awe, With Or Without The Gods by Dr. Tania Lombrozo. Dr. Lombrozo discusses the very human desire to work out how awe is elicited. She examines the assumption that atheists cannot possibly experience awe, as if religious belief is the domain of this vast word. Atheists do, in fact, experience awe, but there are others who find it difficult to understand that awe is not the handmaiden of religion. Dr. Lombrozo goes onto to discuss awe with regards to science, nature. She asks, So why the persistent idea that awe is inextricably linked to theism? And are "scientific awe" and "religious awe" fundamentally different, or deep down one and the same? Please read her very interesting article to see how her discussion proceeds.

At this point I am departing from a causative investigation. I think an examination of the sense of awe, rather than what seemingly causes it, is important

I propose that Awe IS because its trajectory rises from the birth of the Universe, and is thus inherent in everything. I propose that, like beauty, awe has no antonym and thus cannot be discussed referentially or comparatively. It just IS. Regular readers will know that I have previously written about beauty and the intriguing absence of an accompanying opposite. In my 2012 post Beauty Has No Antonym I wrote, Was beauty present at the instant life began, at the Big Bang or whatever it was that set everything in motion? I suspect it was. And, this Beauty now exists as some kind of human race memory, maybe deeply buried in our DNA code. Maybe that's why we sometimes have Ah Ha moments, that stir our inner core reminding us of something, often propelling us onto new thoughts and actions, but always providing us with joy and hope.

I suspect that Awe is a kind of remembering too...remembering at a core level that is linked to the energy forces of the Universe, revelling in a ubiquitous presence across all time and scale. When you feel awe you immediately know an instinct which is not forgotten, that arises from before your human birth.

Yet, awe can be touched with fear. Like beauty's pathos there is a wild card lying in satisfied retreat. Why do I say satisfied retreat? Because, awe acknowledges fear and sets it free. After all, if awe was present at the birth of the Universe, it has known and overcome fear in all its guises. Awe rejoices in its own survival as it dances with the Universe. We see the dance in nature, art, the stars, science and yes in aspects of religion too. Rather than causing awe they trigger a sense that we already know, they stir Universal 'memory' within us, a memory that extends across time and space.

So, what about the photo above?

I am preparing a stretched linen 'canvas' for a new painting...which I has thought I'd call Awe

AND, now to something a bit different...maybe?

I am one of 14 artists who have been invited by a young poet, Aquilokami, to create a work that is inspired by one of three poems. The poem I chose is In Abysm Inhere...

You can read more of Aquilokami's work at PASENFRANCAIS

The exhibition PAINTED PROSE is a one night event at Substation 4, 22 Petrie Tce, Brisbane.

I am probably the oldest ten thousand centuries!!! And, I am thrilled to have been asked! This is my painting below. I will post my artist's statement nearer the time...but meanwhile you read In Abysm Inhere...


see what you come up with.

An Eternal Dance Gouache on paper 32 x 114 cm 2014


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