Friday, February 19, 2016


Australian Landscape Cutout Oil on linen 50 x 70 cm 2015


This is a painting from last year. I had fun with this painting - playing with cosmological ideas of landscape. As regular readers know I suggest that whilst Earth is our home, the Universe is our environment. In my work I attempt to untether landscape from Earth-bound horizons. In Australian Landscape Cutout the pale blue dot of Earth is placed against its Universal environment. And, the continent of Australia has been extracted to reveal the Universal embrace where star dust connects everything. 

Privileging a particular landscape is not my intention. Rather, I suggest that privileging a particular continental landscape becomes a myopic exercise when placed within the literal Universal environment, but also when placed against concerns about the future of humanity. Indeed, from a vast distance, Earth's geography disappears. This was clearly illustrated by the famous photograph 'Pale Blue Dot' taken by the spacecraft Voyager 1 when as it started to leave the outer solar system in 1990. Australian Landscape Cutout relates to another painting where I have extracted Australia from the Earth. This painting is called Privileged Landscape? ... notice the question mark!

With talk of settlements on Mars and discoveries of potential habitable exoplanets orbiting the so-called Goldilocks zone of distant stars, suddenly there is the possibility of humanity extending its reach beyond Earth and even our solar system. I suggest that for this to happen we need to orient ourselves by extending notions of landscape. After all, in language we have extended landscape in the way we describe features on other planets, moons and so on. We use terms such as valley, mountain, plain, haze and more. By coupling language with extensions of how we think about and represent landscape, I propose we can grapple with ideas of life after Earth, life after the human even!

                                        Privileged Landscape Oil on linen 80 x 140 cm 2015


Regular readers will know that I recently participated in an exciting event in Adelaide, Sth. Australia. I was one of four panellists for a public event 'Space and Popular Culture'. The event was for the Southern Hemisphere Space Studies Program from the International Space University [ISU: Strasbourg, France] and co-hosted at the University of Sth Australia.

The four panellists were space archaeologist Dr. Alice Gorman, me, underwater performance artist and Everest mountaineer, Dr. Sarah Jane Pell, and comedian and Mars One astronaut candidate Josh Richards. 

Please read my last post HERE for more of the details, video link etc.


I was interviewed on Radio Adelaide a day or so after the event. You can listen to it HERE


I read this amazingly interesting essay In The Beginning by Ross Andersen in Aeon Magazine. Please read it and you will understand why I paint the way I do, why I think about the things I do, why I feel a need to express them. Andersen wrote one line that particularly grabbed me "Art, literature, religion and philosophy ignore cosmology at their peril." 

Well...all I can say...with my hand over my heart is...I do not ignore cosmology.


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