Pale & Interesting
works in this series on show as part of:
Opposites - and how they attract
Although disparate, these paintings are my imaginary field notes about transplanted life: where nature meets culture and where a particular detail stands out from an indistinct whole.
Untouched, nature is often thought to have its own harmony and balance, not static but self regulating. James Lovelock called it Gaia, also using the biological term homeostasis which describes the way in which a system maintains internal stability.
The other point of contrast here is between white and black.
The Italians invented chiaroscuro - light/dark - to highlight matters of importance and to create drama in paint.
In painting white 'pops' - it is attention seeking. And in nature nothing stands out like a white thing. In gardens even red and pink flowers blend more chromatically with the background greens than do the white ones; and in the muted Australian landscape of my home, white stands out all the more.
But chiaroscuro also translates to clear/obscure. My use of white against dark backgrounds draws attention to the elements that are out of place but also asks about what is missing.
White is an unearthly colour according to one colour theory, or an ethereal absence of colour according to another. So although stark, these plants, animals and decorated rocks are also ghost-like, suggesting impermanence.
Darkness too is important here and not just as a foil for white.
In Iceland, in the perpetual daylight of summer, the American writer Rebecca Solnit came to appreciate, as she missed it, the importance of darkness. “The sensuality of night had never been so clear to me...
"In darkness things merge, which might be how passion becomes love and how making love begets progeny of all natures and forms. Merging is dangerous, at least to the boundaries and definition of the self. Darkness is generative, and generation, biological and artistic both, requires this amorous engagement with the unknown, this entry into the realm where you do not quite know what you are doing and what will happen next. Creation is always in the dark because you can only do the work of making by not quite knowing what you’re doing, by walking into darkness, not staying in the light. Ideas emerge from the edges and shadows to arrive in the light, and though that’s where they may be seen by others, that’s not where they’re born.” 1
Both standing out and merging - that's what I'm attempting here. And that's what we do in life a lot of the time. We differentiate ourself yet want to be part of a group. We elevate our personal or our species' needs yet ultimately our dependance on and 'oneness' with nature is a simple matter of life and death.
We link ourselves to nature when we talk of our 'roots' - usually describing the place we spent our childhood. But our sense of place is largely psychological, real at a personal level but nonetheless intangible. The place itself bears our scars and suffers our uses but continues to exist long before and long after our inhabitation and our imaginings.
1. Rebecca Solnit The Faraway Nearby, Granta, 2013, pp.184-5
|Cirrus, 2014, oil on board, 60 x 60 cm|
|Radiant, 2014, oil on board, 30 x 30 cm|
|New world wonder, 2014, oil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm|
|Vela Philotheca, 2014, oil on board, 60 cm dia|
|Aries erratic, 2014, oil on linen, 40 x 40 cm|
|Aries apparent, 2014, oil on board, 60 cm dia|
|Fancy Aberrance, 2012, oil on linen, 100 x 100 cm|
|Achondrite Aloe, 2014, oil on board, 20 x 20 cm|
|Aurora Aeonium, 2014, oil on board, 50 x 50 cm|
|Cotyledon nightlife, 2013, oil on board, 60 cm diameter|
|And some other work in this series though not in Pinpoint....|
|Constellation Tropaeolum, 2014, oil on board, 90 cm dia|
|Nasturtium nebula, 2014, oil on board, 40 x 40 cm|
|Signs are small measureable things, interpretations are illimitable,
2014, oil on board, 15 x 15 cm
|Cimmerian Flourishing, 2013, oil on linen, 46 x 46 cm|
|Three cairns, 2014, oil on board, 30 cm dia|
|Finding the detail in the whole: Ben Lomond, Tasmania, Australia, The World, 2014, oil on linen, 100 x 100 cm|
|Return to menu|