Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Paradigm Shift Oil on linen 40 x 50 cm
Way back when I was studying for my Bachelor of Arts degree, at the University of Queensland, I took a year long subject called The History Of Science. It was the most fascinating course, delivered by one of the best lecturers I ever had, Prof Mac Hamilton. In his lectures, which were more like discussion sessions because there were so few students taking the course, every idea and concept was intellectually stimulating. In essence the subject was a history of the philosophy of science and Prof Hamilton introduced us to an array of different approaches. The lock-step historical approach, that I was more accustomed to, was definitely not on the cards! This course had a profound influence on the way I viewed education and learning.
One of our text books was Thomas S. Kuhn's 'The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions' first published in 1962. We used the second edition, published in 1970. Kuhn's concept of paradigms and paradigm shift associated with 'scientific revolutions' intrigued me, even as a 19 to 20 year old. Over the years I have often returned to Kuhn's book. Taking the concept of a paradigm more generally, what causes major shifts in perspective, that then lead to new ways of thinking? Or, how do new ways of thinking, reveal new perspectives?
It's funny how the past sows seeds which may not flower until decades later. Regular readers will know where I am going with this! Yes, my intense interest in perspective! Yes, it's imbedded in a variety of my experiences, studies and ponderings. It is also something I learn about as I work through a painting. The process of thinking about a painting, then actually painting it, not only draws upon knowledge of all kinds, but also produces new knowledge, thoughts, insights...and perspectives.
This painting, like many of my paintings, is deliberately ambiguous. Yes, the title provides a departure point, but the painting offers a number of possibilities. The two red circles seem to hover. But are they above, in front of, below, immersed in the landscape-like background? Well, that's up to you dear reader to decide for yourself.
The red circles are similar to another recent painting called In Sight where  two red target-like circles/eyes help me play with and investigate words - 'In Sight' - 'Insight' - 'Incite' and connotations of gun sights, camera lenses and more. In Paradigm Shift the target/scope-like appearance of the red circle on the left suggests perspectives gained from peering into a gun scope, camera or micro/telescope... or any other kind of scope readers may think of.
Detail from In Sight Oil on linen50 x 70 cm 2015
Yet, as I write these words 'gun scope, camera or micro/telescope' I have physical and emotional reactions to them...each different and each multi-layered. The mention of the word 'gun' obviously conjures different feelings to the word 'camera' and again with thoughts of a microscope or telescope. However, each thing that the words describe enables targeting. But, as we all know targets can be missed, over-reached, under-reached and overexposed. What can targeting, accurate or not, metaphorically mean? The potential for 'revolution' exists in both accuracy and not.
The red circle on the right, takes on a target-like appearance, only by association with its accompanying red circle. If the other red circle was not there, the circle with the tree-of-life inside it, could be considered like a womb or a vessel. Well, it still can, but the presence of possible malevolence makes the tree-of-life, representing all of existence, more vulnerable. On the other hand, if the 'targeting' by the left red circle is the perspective of a microscope or telescope, the tree-of-life takes on a more positive cosmological metaphor.
Many commentators, from inside and outside the scientific community, suggest the 21st century is a turning point for our planet and humanity. Existential risk, from things like human-made technologies to natural space driven disasters, is now a serious concern and area of scientific study. We may have a choice now, but for how the 'tree-of-life' vulnerable or not?

  • My entry in the Moreton Bay Art Awards 2015 has been selected as a finalist.
  • I have again been invited to participate in the $30,000 Tattersall's Club Landscape Art Prize. This is an invitation only art award, and I am thrilled to have been invited again. The award takes place in September.
  • Just in case you missed it, Kirsten Fogg, from The Belonging Blog, wrote a wonderful piece Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox: Visual artist and cosmic explorer about me and my work. I LOVE the title she gave the article, especially the cosmic explorer bit...

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