Saturday, March 31, 2018

RETURNING TO THE COUNTRY - "COSMOLOGICAL LANDSCAPES" - EXHIBITION IN MILES

Australian Landscape Cutout Oil on linen 50 x 70 cm 2015


My exhibition Cosmological Landscapes opened two night ago at Dogwood Crossing, Miles, Western Queensland, Australia. My exhibition hangs in the John Mullins Memorial Art Gallery. It is a great gallery space, kitted out to meet regional gallery standards eg: climate control, lighting, hanging systems, loading bays etc etc. Plus, the professional staff are wonderful to work with. And, the Miles community provides a team of well trained volunteers.

This is my first show for nearly three years. The reason for this is that I became a recluse while I was studying and researching for my Master of Philosophy, University of Queensland. My proposal for Cosmological Landscapes was accepted two and half years ago - and - now it is hanging. 

I relished the opportunity to exhibit paintings completed over the last 3-4 years, including some of my very recent paintings that depict airborne weaponised drones, or indications of their presence. Considering that my interest, and subsequent academic research into militarised technology, was spurred by my creative practice, Cosmological Landscapes provides insight into my journey - from a broad interest in existential risk posed by emerging technologies to a specific focus on contemporary militarised technology. This journey is also a 'flight' through the cosmos, where the vastness of my childhood landscape enticed me to wonder about life and the universe. 

The title Cosmological Landscapes invites the viewer to see 'landscape' as something that traverses universal time and scale - from the quantum to the vast. As this was the first opportunity for me to exhibit some of my dronescape paintings, it was interesting to see how my ideas of 'droned landscape' worked with my earlier paintings. In contextualising the dronescapes as landscapes, the exhibition reveals how landscape is mediated by persistent technological surveillance and the enabling invisible signals that ricochet around the world from node to node - satellites, drones, devices, cars, mobile phones and so on. In my artist's talk I suggested that this insidious mediation affects how we might operate and live in the landscape/environment. In Australian regional and rural centres, for example, satellites are used to monitor/record various aspects of agricultural production and activity - planting, clearing, stock movements, fire break construction and maintenance etc. As this kind of monitoring and surveillance becomes more ubiquitous, human behaviour is likely to change. Extreme examples of places where lives are changed by persistent vertical surveillance are Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and others. 


 Exhibition image Cosmological Landscapes



 The Australia corner of Cosmological Landscapes


I am so so happy to have an opportunity to exhibit a selection of my Australia paintings. Underground Currency [far left] depicts the continent of Australia, formed by a cascading tree-of-life. The Great Artesian Basin in painted with small blue $ signs. I 'play' with the term currency in multiple ways! This painting was received very well at the opening - country people 'get' the issues surrounding water and the Great Artesian Basin



Image may contain: 2 people, indoor
Me gesticulating during my artist's talk at the opening of Cosmological Landscapes
Photo: Courtesy of Dogwood Crossing



A selection of my dronescapes at Cosmological Landscapes


Cosmological Landscapes


Cosmological Landscapes


                                                               Cosmological Landscapes

                                        Cosmological Landscapes continues until May 21.



On at the same time as Cosmological Landscapes is The View From Here: An Exhibition of Papercuts. Lead artist on this project is Pamela See.


COUNTRY TRIP
A great trip to the country from Brisbane would be - Toowoomba, Dalby, to Jimbour, cut across to Chinchilla, to MILES [to see my show, and The View From Here!], then to Roma, and to Mitchell where the best scrambled eggs can be eaten at the local bakery. Plus, Mitchell has a wonderful spa complex - yes water straight from the great Artesian Basin!


Cheers, Kathryn


Sunday, March 18, 2018

FAKE

Fake Tree Oil on linen 25 x 35 cm 2017


In a world where terms like 'fake news' are bandied about, I thought I would enter the foray with a painting called Fake Tree. I had fun with this one!

BINARY CODE
Regular readers will know that I often paint strings of binary code into my paintings. They are often colourful strings, always hand painted, and, thus not perfect. By not expressing perfect zeros and ones the 'code' could be described as fake - but - does the imperfection actually expose the role algorithms play in the creation of virtual, unreal and fake worlds? 

In Fake Tree I have painted the word FAKE and the word TREE in binary code. These 'instructions', which is what code essentially is, straddle each side of the green tree. So is the tree fake or not? My deliberate play with entendre extends to the fact that the binary code creates what appears to be an horizon. But, is it a fake horizon? Here, the horizon can be viewed as a real or virtual landscape element, or perhaps an existential horizon of the future. Fake Tree suddenly becomes a possible visual representation of the future, but does this future include humans? If not, what brought about the demise of the human species?

I have used shades of a night vision green to accentuate the appearance of fakeness, but the visual entendre here is that the green also signifies some kind of surveillance. Is it human surveillance or machine surveillance? 

TREE-OF-LIFE
The tree could be one of my trees-of-life, a virtual representation of a tree [real or symbolic] or a tree-of-life pretending to be a virtual representation. The latter perhaps demonstrating human ingenuity or rather, life's ingenuity? Maybe, however, it demonstrates advanced machine learning - artificial intelligence - finally surpassing human intelligence? 

The radiating lines emanating from the tree pose more interesting possibilities. Are they a tree-of-life's roots, camouflaged as surveillance signals or even targeting signals to avoid detection? Or, are they, in fact, surveillance or targeting signals emanating from a fake tree, thus confirming that it is actually fake. If so the tree represents a node in the interconnected technological infrastructure that permeates our world? Nodes include such things as land-based, sea-based or airborne drones, and space based assets such as communication and GPS satellites. They can also include various other devices such as phones, vehicular GPS systems, computers and other everyday devices in the increasingly IOT world. 

The radiating lines could also be furrows in a ploughed paddock, even furrows where new shoots of a life-sustaining crop are appearing above the soil's surface - maybe?

RED
And, the background red - I have used it to accentuate the green - playing to the strengths of complementary colours. Red, though, conjures ideas of blood, passion, anger, hunger, destruction. It is a great colour because it can symbolise a multiple of meanings, even contradictory ones. Thus, it helps open Fake Tree to a multiple of 'readings' - even contradictory ones! Maybe contradiction opens up a space for critical and deep thought. Here, I suggest contradiction offers a way to pry open what philosopher Jean Baudrillard, in 2003, describes as a "reductive yardstick"*. He wrote that our coded future is one where it will be “possible to measure everything by the same extremely reductive yardstick: the binary, the alternation between 0 and 1”.*

*Jean Baudrillard, Passwords, trans. Chris Turner (London and New York: Verso, 2003), 76.

________________________________________
NEWS

My exhibition
opens on March 29 
continuing until May 21
at
Arts and Community Centre
Miles,
Western Queensland, Australia.

I am excited about this exhibition for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is that Miles is the birth place of my Mother. I remember visiting Miles to see my grand-parents. It has been years since I have ventured out that way. 

Cheers,
Kathryn

Saturday, March 10, 2018

DISSOLVING INTO A FLOOD OF RIPPLES

Dissolving into a Flood of Ripples oil on linen 40 x 56 cm 2018


Dissolving into a Flood of Ripples 

These are my words from my Instagram page - As Australia dissolves it sends ripples across the Earthly and cosmic landscape. The night sky has fallen, the stars dispersed. Trees-of-life stand as memorials to a time past. The new 'currency' is a 'flood' of eroded land and politics.
The painting's aesthetics clearly belies a dark underbelly!
 Dissolving into a Flood of Ripples relates to my earlier work Run Off  [below] which, at first glance, is signalling a flood situation, climate change and extreme weather events. It does, however, also signify eroded politics where diversionary issues hijack political and public attention. The erosion gauges into public confidence, sovereign integrity and global signification. 

In Dissolving into a Flood of Ripples I have continued my multiple entendre of political critique in conjunction with signalling the effects of climate change. Of course, the two cannot really be untangled. The plodding nature of climate change mitigation draws us closer to potential disaster. 

The title Dissolving into a Flood of Ripples plays with the saying 'dissolving into a flood of tears'. Here, in my painting, the tears are so voluminous that they surge across the earthly landscape as ripples. They extend into the cosmos washing away the night sky, scattering the stars, leaving only memorials to a time past. These memorials, symbolised by the trees-of-life, act as beacons on a new horizon - maybe? Where do the ripples stop?  


Run Off Gouache and watercolour on paper 30 x 42 cm 2016


Both Dissolving into a Flood of Ripples and Run Off, are part of my ongoing interest in rethinking what landscape means in the 21st century, an age of new technologies, accelerating population, perpetual war, climate change and agitated politics.



NEWS
I have a solo exhibition 

Cosmological Landscapes 

Dogwood Crossing, Miles, Queensland, Australia
 
29 March - 21 May. 

Details are available HERE 
And, opening night details etc are available HERE

Cheers, Kathryn