Monday, October 11, 2021


Paradox Gouache and watercolour on paper 56 x76 cm 2021

Before I write about Paradox - an alert! 

Yesterday my interview with Mick Cook from the Dead Prussian Podcast went live. We discuss my work, research, creative practice and the future of war. You can listen to my interview HERE  I am thrilled to be given opportunities like this! 

You can see the list of other great interviews on The Dead Prussian Podcast site. I have listened to quite a few, and they are always interesting, with a diverse number of topics and interviewees. 

The term 'Dead Prussian' refers to nineteenth century General Carl von Clausewitz, who wrote the famous tome On War. Regular readers will know that I reference Clausewitz in my Theatre of War series of paintings. Clausewitz uses the term 'theatre of war' variously and often in On War.

Paradox is the result of a commission from Group Captain Jo Brick, Royal Australian Air Force. We met when I exhibited paintings at the Australian Defence College in Canberra. Group Capt Brick had written an essay "Kill the Enemy, and Don't Forget to Buy Milk on the Way Home" which had won 'Category 2: ADF Officers' section of the Jamie Cullens Defence Leadership and Ethics Essay Competition in 2019. We discussed that I would respond to the essay. Given that the essay is a reflection on the operation of airborne drones, regular readers will know this commission was right up my alley!

Group Capt Brick's thoughtful and hard hitting essay stimulated four paintings - all works on paper. Paradox is the painting she chose. I am delighted!

Below is my artist's statement, written to accompany Paradox


Gouache & Watercolour on Paper 2021

Artist’s Statement: Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox

Paradox was inspired by Group Captain Jo Brick’s essay “Kill the Enemy, and Don’t Forget to Buy Milk on the Way Home”. The painting evokes the sense of liminality experienced by remote drone pilots who fight wars and insurgencies in distant countries from inside home-based ground control stations. While inside these bunkers they are at war. Upon leaving the bunker, they re-enter domestic life. As Brick notes “their psychological existence occupies both war and peace”. The ongoing rhythm of this existence creates a liminal zone where the pilot’s psyche grapples with seemingly unreconcilable paradoxes. This agitation is deepened by experiences of witnessing, perpetrating and perpetuating scopic intimacies of surveillance, identification, targeting and killing.

The circles in Paradox link and overlap in ways that draw the drone pilot, the drone, and the surveilled or targeted, together. This occurs against a vast sky, or could it be a seascape? This depends on the viewer’s perspective. A sense of flying, hovering, floating is suggested. Are you a pilot, maybe a drone, a bird or even an intergalactic space traveler passing by Earth? Perhaps you are a target, living a precarious life on the edge of life and death? A melancholic kind of resignation is felt as clouds semi-obscure details. These clouds act as visual metaphors for liminality. They also act as metaphors for the contemporary ‘cloud’ of networked, interconnected and interoperable militarised and militarise-able technologies. This techno-cloud is the drone pilot’s operational space. The colour red disrupts melancholia with warnings of violence. The red squares denote computer screens, ‘windows’ into the scoped lives of the targeted. The red tinged clouds speak to violence, blood and death; reminding us of corporeality in a techno-world. The human-like outline indicates the presence of a human in the loop, but can we be sure of this? It may be a robot.


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