Thursday, July 23, 2015

 CODE - Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox

It has been two weeks since I posted. This is the longest gap I've had since I started blogging in 2006. I normally post once a week.


CODE is open! The doors opened on Tuesday and I've been busy...sales, visitors, chatting and more. I hung the show on Monday and I sold the first painting half an hour after the doors opened on Tuesday.

Exhibition Dates: 21 July  - Sunday 2 August
Graydon Gallery, 29 Merthyr rd, New Farm, Brisbane, Qld, Australia.

I've posted some installation shots of CODE for you. Plus the one below of me on the steps of the gallery.

As I have been chatting with people who have visited CODE I have had an opportunity to think about the catalytic agency of the artist and the arts. In most of the conversations I've had people draw upon their own experiences, dreams and thoughts. It's as if the paintings entice and elicit...pulling on people in a way that engages and embraces imagination.

I have previously written that I do not believe the arts or artists have roles. Why? Because, to have a role immediately indicates some kind of prescription, agenda and hoped for or planned outcome/s. Surely the arts is more than this? Surely the arts can agitate, stir and stimulate in ways that are surprising, confronting, beguiling and provoking without an articulated need or prescribed KPIs? Surely the arts are more dynamic than any kind of  'role' could suggest?

As I said...I prefer to describe the arts and artists as having catalytic agency. This description immediately conjures open-ended possibilities for the artist and their audience. An open-endedness means that imagination can take flight...without a flight plan. A destination is not exciting! It means questions can be asked that have perhaps never been asked before. It means that knowledge can be created in tangential ways. It means that the artist, and the actual artwork, are launching pads which do not remain static. Each visitor with every conversation they have in their own heads, or with the artist or another person, provides another 'life' beyond the materiality of the artwork. This, in turn, means the artwork is much more than a 'product' made by a creative industries practitioner.
 CODE - Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox
Over the years I have had many conversations with people who visit my exhibitions. And, even though CODE has been open only two days I've already had some invigorating discussions. The paintings are catalysts...people tell me about their interests, fears, favourite movies, passions, and stories. We take flight together as the paintings draw out of people their ideas about life, Earth, landscape, the Universe, science, culture, philosophy, technology and more.

Regular readers know I love to think about and play with perspective, both literal and metaphoric. Today, through conversations at CODE, I experienced a play with perspective where the possibility of going beyond safe horizons to unchartered territory with others, was realised. I suggest that perspective must be travelled across its close and far distances, in deft and fluid traverse. Advance notice is not fact, it could be debilitating, shutting down the playfulness of perspective's improvisational dance. The proposition that artists and the arts have a catalytic agency provides a far more expansive propellant than giving them a 'role' to perform or play. There is no way a simple 'role' could ever be a dance partner with something that has catalytic agency. I see no compatibility. Yet, I suspect perspective is the perfect partner.
 CODE - Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox
  CODE - Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox
 CODE - Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox
CODE - Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox

Thursday, July 09, 2015


Privileged Landscape? Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2015

Privileged Landscape? is another of my cosmic landscapes. Yes, there's Earth with a cut-out of Australia floating around in space, but still tethered to Earth via a thin ribbon.

The title, a question itself, poses many the Australian landscape privileged? If it is, who or what privileges it? What about all the other national landscapes? What about an Earth landscape? What happens if one landscape is privileged over another? And, could the landscape infer other kinds of 'landscape' like a political or economic one?

Pale Blue Dot
When I was painting this painting, I was thinking about the influence of the famous photograph taken from the spacecraft Voyage 1 as it left the solar system in 1991. At Carl Sagan's suggestion the camera was turned back towards Earth and the subsequent photograph called Pale Blue Dot entered into humanity's image lexicon. The perspective of Earth as literally a pale blue dot against a vast universal landscape had a profound impact on people who questioned how special Earth and humanity are? From this vast distance no discernible characteristics of Earth's landscape were a sense landscape, as we know it, disappeared. However, I propose that a new cosmic or universal landscape made an appearance in a reality that had never been documented before. With its appearance, perspective was able to reveal itself as a magnificent and flexible lens to probe the close and far distances of the Universe.

Perspective as a Tool
So, using perspective as a lens or tool, how special is any one country, continent, nation, state? If we think about the sustainability of the planet, privileging any landscape becomes problematic. Indeed, for humanity to survive we need the planet to be nurtured as a whole. Whilst potential Earth-like planets may have been discovered, orbiting the Goldilocks zones of distant stars, there is currently no alternative home for humanity. This is likely to be the situation for a long time. We need to think of Earth as a living whole landscape ... a landscape that exists in a horizon of time and scale that is universal, and possibly multiversal. Our survival may depend on it...

I entered a similar painting to Privileged Landscape? in this year's Wynne Prize which is awarded annually for 'the best landscape painting of Australian scenery in oils or watercolours or for the best example of figure sculpture by Australian artists’. Alas, my entry was not selected as a finalist. I will upload it in a blog post in the coming weeks. Many of my thoughts expressed above were also drivers for my Wynne Prize entry. Plus, I liked to think it critiqued, in an expansive way, the privileging of the Australian landscape in the prize criteria which was set in 1895, ninety-five years before Pale Blue Dot!

Exhibition of new paintings.
Doors open Tuesday 21 July at 10 am!
Exhibition Dates: Tuesday July 21 - Sunday August 2
Open Daily: 10 am - 6 pm
Graydon Gallery, 29 Merthyr Rd, new Farm, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
For more images and words please visit  BLOG page for CODE