Saturday, December 27, 2008


Suggestion Gouache on paper 18 x 25 cm 2008

Well, Christmas Day has been and gone for 2008. I had a wonderful time with my family. We spent a few days together in Maleny which is in the mountains behind the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. It is beautiful, green, pretty, has rolling hills, fat cows and mild weather...and my Mum is a fab cook, so we have returned home a bit fatter.
After doing lots of Christmasssy things like attending a very moving Christmas candle lighting service at Unity Church [which preaches from a metaphysical perspective] , singing carols, being with family and generally just slowing down it is obvious to me that letting go a normal routine of frantic activity is absolutely necessary to gain perspective of oneself! Yes, it has been awhile since I slowed down!
I also think that letting go gives the potential for optimism to sing its song. As some things which may seem important in a frantic life drop away in significance a recalibration of priorities can take place. I suppose this is where New Year resolutions may be found!
So, over the years I have thought about the idea of New Year resolutions but I've never really made any mainly because of an underlying niggly feeling of inbuilt failure. I think maybe this was because the resolutions had more to do with controlling a frantic life rather than being truly alive. I have decided that for 2009 I will make only one resolution and that is to expect the best.
Expecting the best does not mean I have a predetermined idea of what is the best! Indeed, whatever is 'the best' sometimes may not be evident until the magic of hindsight reveals it.
I have been painting on paper lately exploring the tree-of-life motif which I love and also investigating ways to satisfy my need to expose the beauty of water. The latter is about my observations growing up on a farm, living out west and witnessing the transformation of water from a free and reliable resource to something which has become a commodity...and all the ramifications this entails.
A recent nostalgic trip back to my birthplace of Dalby with my youngest daughter has inspired me even more. It has been 14 years since I visited Dalby, my parent's old farm and other places of personal significance. It was a great trip and my daughter thoroughly enjoyed seeing where Mum grew up. I have to say the land and crops [mainly sorghum] are looking fantastic.
Over the next many weeks I am concentrating on more works on paper. I also have some ideas for new oil on linen paintings. I have applied for an exhibition and will be entering various competitions ...and expecting the best!
Happy New Year

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


This painting is called The Brush Of Angels' Wings Oil on linen 53 x 97 cm 2008
As we negotiate contemporary life in the spaces between the micro and macro-local and global-vast and intimate we know that our potential exists within the chaos. Optimism is knowing that life’s complexity and its chaotic presentation actually create the forces for survival. To me the seeming chaos is like the flutter of angels’ wings creating energy and thus potential. The trans-cultural/religious tree of life, its visceral branches, the spaces between its branches and twigs, its constant movement in the air epitomises the essence of chaos’s promise.

Sunday, November 16, 2008



Optimism is having faith in yourself and the human race.

Optimism is knowing that life’s complexity and its chaotic presentation create the forces for survival.

Optimism is knowing that the dark night of the soul when you stare into the open mouth of the lion, is part of a journey, not the end. It is knowing that mourning releases you from the crippling clinging attachment to those things, people or relationships you have lost. By letting go you release yourself and others to potential.

Optimism knows the negative exists in potential, thus….

Optimism is realistic.

Optimism is far more than positive thinking. The latter overlays negative thoughts without dealing with them, leaving them to ultimately corrupt the positive thinking.

Optimism is not wishful thinking.

Optimism can inspire others.

Optimism is a choice.
Image: Frisson Gouache on paper 21 x 30 cm 2008

Monday, November 03, 2008


                                                                      Sharing The Spaces

                                                                    After The Implosion

I started writing this [below] for a letter to a newspaper, but it got too here it is for you instead!

Media commentary on the global financial implosion is peppered with key descriptive words which have seemingly gone unscrutinised under the deluge of blame, fear and doom reporting and rhetoric. Words such as ‘bubble’, ‘magical’, ‘fantasy’, ‘unreal’, ‘dreamland’ and ‘nothing’ describe the antithesis of reality, yet they hold clues to identifying the underlying motivational [albeit not necessarily conscious] reason for the financial and economic turmoil which has swept swiftly throughout the globe. This reason goes beyond Gordon Gekko’s simple and obvious greed.

Over the last twenty to thirty years postmodernism's distortion into slippery yet seductive narcissistic tendencies and a love of simulacra has insidiously infiltrated many of society’s institutions via memetic means. Narcissism is characterised by a self worship, which proclaims a right to flout rules and regulations, at the same time as making them up for others, who abide only to find the rules change in a nano second, or they are so complex multiple interpretations confuse. Narcissism’s passive-aggressive qualities dupe people into thinking someone cares making sympathy a tool to emotionally colonise the poor, underprivileged and powerless. Conversely the latter [along with everyone else] succumb to the narcissistic seduction by believing they can have a house, a car or whatever without concrete obligation.

The slippery and swift manoeuvring of ‘dud’ deals into packaged ‘investment’ entities to offload onto someone else is narcissism’s game, aided and abetted by simulation. The simulated experience is also seductive because an escape to a fantasy world where everything is available and abundant seems possible. The sub prime debacle is an example of simulacra vanishing in the face of ‘authentic’ experiences of ‘real life’, one example being interest rate rises. The debacle whipped the rug from under narcissism’s feet causing the economic ‘house of cards’ largely built from more simulacra to collapse.

Society’s core values have been hijacked by the underbelly of post modernism’s narcissistic inability to share. Lack of emotion, except for selfish and sensationalist emotional displays designed to manipulate, is a characteristic of narcissism. In varying degrees this behaviour is part of normal teenage development, so perhaps the crisis is a wake-up call to grow up! The world currently has deeply bended knees. The hope is that when the world jumps it actually moves and does not land on the same spot becoming the arrested teenager. The latter is unlikely because the crisis is very serious and the need for new paradigms supported by core values which embrace the experiences of a world where globalisation has collapsed the distance of difference is obvious.

The implosion could be seen as an inevitable aspect of post modernism’s demise and simultaneously a sign of burgeoning new paradigms which collectively have yet to be named [and possibly even identified]. Within the artworld artists, academics and theorists have been contemplating the question of ‘what’s next?’ for some time. In this way the artworld can be seen as a barometer for detecting, reflecting [and sometimes affecting] change well before the broader community is aware that failing structures are actually heralding something new. Hopefully whatever is ‘new’ will retain the best of postmodernism including its creative insistence to stretch boundaries to test whether what seems impossible has real possibility.
Art’s agency is its potent ability to be reflective, yet at its weakest this can merely scaffold existing paradigms. Art’s less obvious agency is its ability to be affective albeit not deliberately so, otherwise it falls prey to restrictive and prescriptive didacticism and purpose. Flexible skills in perspective are needed to negotiate or dance across the contemporary ‘stage’ which exists between the global and local ‘wings’. Art's agency is its potential to provide experiences with multiple, distorted, unexpected perspectives both literally and metaphorically.

Perspective of others and self is enabled by contemporary life which is about living locally in the increasingly globalised world. Thus, perspective gained by experiencing multiple viewpoints creates a [potential] space/place where compassion for self and others can flourish and be shared in dignified, equal and mature relationships, negotiations and transactions in all areas of life.

Healthy self-interest becomes a compassionate urge at a micro level knowing that it wants and needs to positively affect the community or macro level. World leaders and the general population must re-build foundations based on underlying compassionate principles taking into account the individual and the collective. For this to be effective it needs to be done without wasting time on blame and retribution because basically we all passively [through ignorance and disinterest] or actively played in post modernism’s illusory playground where ‘bubbles’, ‘magic’, ‘fantasy’, ‘unreality’, 'dreamland' were the games [albeit at times very enjoyable games].

All good things must come to an end and whatever happens next will ultimately implode/deconstruct/die to make room for the necessary out-picturing of evolutionary urges.

Image above-After The Implosion Gouache on paper 25 x 18 cm 2008
This work on paper was inspired by the possibility of something new happening in the aftermath of implosion. The 'new 'errupts in a way which whilst not necessarily identifiable is possibly detectible by the very existence of implosion. I have used the spiral to reference my interest in Don Beck's Spiral Dynamic Integral theory.
Sharing The Spaces Gouache on paper 21 x 30 cm 2008
Spaces are created when we have perspective literal and metaphoric. The distance in these spaces can be close or far, spatial or temporal, conscious or unconscious, material or spiritual and so on. These spaces are not empty.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I wanted to create an image which embraced a feeling of excitement and when you meet someone you are really attracted to. So, yes.... a bit tingly, sensual, earthy and anticipatory. I wanted to do this for a few reasons. 1. I am intensely interested in the idea of distance being close and/or far and that the space between is replete with energy thus collapsing the idea that opposites and antimonies actually exist because this 'space between' insists they are variations of each other. 2. The moment before a romantic kiss when the distance between two people is close but not closed is full of anticipation and possibility. 3. I imagine time and space dancing with each other causing frissons which create a rich environment for the collective consciousness. 4. I am interested in questioning the idea of duality and that maybe it is an illusion...if it is distance has no meaning.

I was thinking this morning about the current financial crisis gripping the world. Readers of my BLOG know I am very interested in what's happening. I had a thought which I think has a positive spin to it. If Post Modernism's narcisistic tendencies and love of simulacra have driven financial environments allowing activities which ultimately have caused the current crisis, we can perhaps 'see' this drive as the element which has also caused the unprecedented collaboration amongst world leaders as witnessed this last weekend. The drive for personal gain and wealth without safe levels of responsibility has brought the world to a situation where countries/nations and their leaders are now forced [or at least have the opportunity] to work together and to put genuine and compassionate action into 'global world' rhetoric. Any kind of simulation cannot last, yet it is sometimes difficult to know when it is enticing or seducing you. Narcisism will perpetuate simulation by upping the ante with changing rules, no rules, rules for some and not for others, creating complex arrangements etc until it just cannot be sustained anymore. The implosion is inevitable and I think should be welcomed because it means change can happen. 'Global world' rhetoric now has an opportunity to become actioned with a real understanding of the interlinking capacities and activities of contemporary human endevour. Hopefully there is recognition that compassion needs to be a guiding element of change and the outcomes of it. I also hope untethered blame does not poison attempts to create our new world.

So with regards to my painting above 'A Frisson With Distance' I also would like to think it suggests the 'charged' feeling the world is experiencing now. Like being on the 'edge' where anticipation creates energy and inspiration.

A Frisson With Distance Oil on linen 84 x 147 cm 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008


So much whirls through my head that I am not sure where to start today. However, this notion of collasping difference to unveil fundamental similarities opening up the potential for compassion is taking up much of my thinking time. By 'collapsing' I am not necessarily meaning a literal collapse of distance, but a rethinking of distance as separation. The 'space between' is not an empty space because in a sense everything is 'one'. The macro and micro are connected by being variations of each other so any distance between is not a separation but merely a process of variation. The local and global are connected because they are integral parts of the other. They exist simultaneously thus closing any perceived separation of distance.

The underbelly of post modernism reveals an insidious attempt to create an empty distance through a lack of compassion which is perpetuated by PM's devotion to simulacra and narcisistic tendencies. Post modernism has been able to manipulate its empty distance to separate the extremes and thus heightening the potential for oppositional and paradoxical tendancies.

Compassion is a quality which is shared, respectful and with all parties in the compassionate space feeling equal. Whereas sympathy is given [and can be taken away] and received and can be manipulated for self satisfaction and perpetuating power and powerlessness. I am not saying sympathy is not helpful. It is, especially in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. But how do we escape from it being used to emotionally colonise the underprivaleged? Sympathy can also be simulated whereas compassion, to me at least, is far more difficult to simulate because it is not constructed on giver and receiver, but a much more complex indentification of humanity within. I suspect the language of sympathy and compassion are different...would be an interesting study.

Compassion is a more confident quality, but it does take some bravery to share. However, this is where collapsing difference to reveal fundamental human similarities can help create the safe place for sharing to occur.

Art's agency is its potential to assist in creating safe places for people to share. Agendaless but not directionless conversation I believe is the key. Art [albeit not all art!] has the ability to stimulate conversations which take people places where humanity's fundamental coding, which is shared by all, recognises itself.

So, I am optimistic about the future. Like any point of change there is more often than not a period of dilemma and chaos, but seeing it as sign of change rather than the death of the 'safe' known is a more purposeful approach. The implosion of the financial and banking world, particularly in the US, is a sign that simulacra [ie: poor loans made with no gurantees, derivatives made up of nothings etc] and narcisism [ie: need I explain!] are in their death throws. Post modernism's play with simulation and shifting/slippery guidelines is no longer seductive. Deregulation was part of the 'game' and now there is an opportunity to create new ways of regulation which care for the collective and the individual both existing in a global world and living locally at the same time. It will not be an easy task to create new foundations, but hopefully they will be forged on more than nothing.

The image above was taken at the inaugural "LAUNCH: Clayton Utz Travelling Scholarship Award" exhibition. I was one of the 25 shortlisted artists.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I know I uploaded this image last post, but I have since had the painting photographed properly and you can now get a better idea of what it looks like.

The Tattersall's Club Landscape Art Award was announced during the week at a lovely cocktail evening. I did not win, but I am really happy to have been one of the 57 preselected artists considered for the award. From Monday 15 - Friday 16 Septmeber the exhibition of finalists and some curator's choices will be on show at Waterfront Place, 1 Eagle Street, Brisbane.

Into The Symphony is a painting which I wanted the viewer to feel embraced going to a wonderful concert and feeling immersed by the music, its nuances, shadows and lights. I wanted to suggest the feeling of a vast expanse revealing its intimate interior. This painting draws on my love of landscape, but collapses the landscape into an entirity rather than its identifiable components. Like previous work I have written about this painting looks different when viewed from a distance than when viewed up close. I like to think of people moving back and forth to understand the painting at its many levels. This dance of movement back and forth mirrors the way I work. I will paint and then move away from the painting to make critical assessments on what my seeing eye of eyeball and pupil wants to achieve and what my mind's eye wants to achieve in the sense of meaning and aura.

Into The Symphony is a painting of wonder. By this I mean my own wondering and therefore questioning. I wonder what it is like to be everywhere at once; I wonder what it might feel like to be inside a mirage; I wonder what small really means and what vast really means-do they eventually collide with each other in a space where size and distance has no meaning? on.

I am interested in re-interpreting the landscape taking it from a place we view to a place we feel. I am interested in the landscape as a 'being' like it is to be a 'human being' of mortal flesh and blood...and spirit.

Please click on the image to make it larger. The you see the detail.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


A few things are about to happen. On Saturday 6 Sept I am one of the presenters @ 'Creative Conservation 3 peaceful space sound, space & environment: An Intercultural Dialogue' at the University of Queensland On Sept 12 I am the guest speaker at Brisbane Boys' school Iona College's Gala Arts night. I have no association with the school, so I am delighted to have been asked to speak about art and education. And, on Sept 10 the announcement of the $20.000 Tattersall's Landscape Art Award is made at a swish 'do' at the Tattersall's Club .

This painting above is new. I wanted to create a work which caught enormity and intimacy simultaneously. I wanted to suggest that outside and inside could be seen together and that the viewer could experience both. My thoughts are a continuation of my intrigue with the space/distance between the macro and micro/global and local and the compassionate potential which I feel exists within this space/distance. The perspectives from outer and inner are different, but in our world today we need to be able to step away from our comfort zones putting ourselves in another's shoes. In this way a compassionate space opens as we view others differently as well ourselves. Th eindividual is not lost in this process, yet the collective can be embraced.

I am also thinking about the capacity of the Soul. I 'see' it as something which is both vast and beyond being seen ie: so small that it collides with enormity at the extremities. The Soul seems beyond being described as having a capacity yet it 'holds' so much. I 'see' it as a living entity attached to us, yet capable of detaching when death arrives. By detaching it avoids time, that vastness which human beings try to understand on a daily basis. The idea of the 'beyond' is something which has sparked my imagination since I was a very small child. Beyond vastness and beyond the minutae are the places of extremes yet the distance may well be both close and far.

So, all of this and more is in this painting 'Into the Symphony'. I use the word symphony because it describes my thoughts of capturing 'everything' but in a way that dances, sings...and seems right somehow.

PS. I am having a small exhibition at Maleny's very 'hip and happening' Upfront Club The show opens on thursday October 23 and continues until November 18. Maleny is a gorgeous hilltop town behind Queensland's Sunshine Coast. The people are an eclectic mix of interesting characters making up a community which is vibrant, creative and interested. My parents live there and I love the fact that there is an opportunity to exhibit my work in Maleny. Check the Upfront Club's website out...they have music gigs too...and great food...and lots more.

Into The Symphony Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008


A few interesting and exciting things have happened in the last couple of weeks. I heard last week that my entry for the $20,000 Tattersall's Club Landscape Art Award is one of the 47 shortlisted entries. The award is announced on the 10th September.

Also, I have been asked to be one of the presenters at Creative Conversation 3: Peaceful Space Sound Space and the Environment- An Intercultural Dialogue on September 6 at the University of Queensland. You are welcome to register online for this event.

And, I have been asked to make speeches at a couple of other events over the next few months. I will update as more details are confirmed.

In my previous BLOG entry I wrote about the space between the macro/micro-global/local and ideas of rethinking perspective. In the last BLOG and the previous one called 'Perspective' I briefly mentioned my thoughts about compassion. It is interesting because I feel that in this globalised world which we see simultaneously through our 'local' eyes we must make space for compassionate conversation and relationships. If we don't the globalised world maybe destroyed by dysfunction, brutality and conflict. Indeed, there are places where these are already happening and we must find ways to to be more compassionate otherwise insanity is the alternative.

I have thought about compassion a lot since my experiences exhibiting in the Middle East and the wonderful conversations I had with people from all over the region, Estern Europe and Africa [I have previously writtten about this]. What has struck me is that post-modernism and its insidious infiltration of many of our western social, cultural, financial and educational structures lacks compassion...not in a deliberate way but in more of an 'autistic' way. By this I mean that many aspects of post-modernism seem to me to be protective mechanisms designed to help explain that which is inexplicable when the capacity for sentient 'feeling' is not present or lacking. This is not to say that these mechanisms are not incredibly clever, intelligent and fascinating. In fact, these are very seductive elements which have great merit and enjoyment, but do they create a wholeness within which space/distance is made to move and experience different perspectives? Even understanding that the whole needs to acknowledge the possibility of the 'outside'?

I believe we are seeing the collapse of structures created in the era of post-modernism. For example-I have previously written about my thoughts on the sub-prime crisis ie: that the lending of money to people who have minimum ability to pay back loans if one element of the system changes eg: interest rates, was created on an illusion. Each borrower was not individually 'big time', but grouped together the size of the aggregate debt was/is such 'big time' that it has caused the crumbling of financial sytems around the world. The idea of 'sub' meaning 'under' is also intriguing because by its title 'sub-prime' indicates that the disaster has occurred at foundation levels and we all know if foundations are not strong the structure above is compromised. Yet, the illusion of of strength was clearly evident. Any illusion cannot be compassionate because it is an illusion!

So, back to compassion. The 'space between' is the place I believe compassion can appear. This space is that place between perspectives of and from the macro/micro-global/local. How do we negotiate this space? Conversaton is a crutial element. Agendaless conversation is rich with possibility and this is where the direction of these conversations can possibility and discovery. The distance within possibility is exciting. I also, think that art can be one of the catalysts for these types of conversations. However, my impression of art created with post-modernist attributes [especially when exagerrated by sensationalism] is that finding the 'space between' is difficult because subtelty and nuance are not the same as illusion, simulation, appropriation etc. The latter are tricks and the viewer remains unsure [even scared] although often entertained... yet nuance and subtelty are more inviting and illicit in a way which is...well...compassionate.

To me compassion is shared. It is about putting oneself in another's shoes to see different perspectives and possibly changing yourself and your views as a result. Whereas, sympathy is something which is given to another who receives it. It is, in a way, less personal and more transient. I also think it is something which people may become tired of giving after a period of time...

So, there is more to be said, but I have go and paint!

Lifeblood Oil on linen 90 x 200 cm 2008

Saturday, August 09, 2008


I attended the Daphne Mayo Art History lecture at the University of Queensland Art Museum on Thursday night. The visiting scholar who gave the lecture is Terry Smith, FAHA, CIHA the Andrew W Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh, and a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Architecture, University of Sydney. The title of his talk was ‘The History of Contemporary Art: Paradoxes and Antinomies’.

Prof Smith discussed the meaning of 'contemporary' and posed questions relating to what it means to be contemporary and contemporaneous. He touched upon time suggesting that being ‘of the time’ or ‘of the moment’ identified the space/place which might be called contemporary. Whilst placing his discussion on a broad frame of historical context and human existence he devoted his attention to exploring the question… What is contemporary art?

While he was talking I became more and more excited because I felt he was investigating and trying to explain the essence of how humanity now exists in the space created between and in the macro and micro [global and local] and that this space is the contemporary place. I believe he saw this as the space between the paradoxes and antimonies referred to in his title. I have written before about the simultaneity of perspective ie: global and local, macro and micro. I have also described distance, both spatial or temporal, as having the capability of being close or far. So, this space between the macro and micro need not be about a large distance, but rather a distance that expands and contracts from nano size to something more. I believe this ‘distance between’ is not about opposites or extremes, but more about negotiating that which may appear to be particular and anything which seems to diffuse particularity keeping in mind that 'particularity' depends on perspective. I also feel that if we mistake this distance between the macro and micro as being a space between two extant opposites we will miss discovering new trajectories and the resulting new spaces/distances. Negotiating life which is increasingly seen as both global and local is the dilemma of the contemporary.

In reference to my own work I have previously written about the multi perspective approach I employ to engage the viewer in an observation which has the potential to give the experience of simultaneously being in many places/perspectives at the one time. My work is intentionally ambiguous with regards to viewpoint ie: a viewer might feel they are above, below, inside, outside, in front or behind, close or far or a combination. I wonder if this experience might enable someone to understand that in this globalised world we need to be able to place ourselves in another’s or many others’ shoes in order to conduct business, diplomacy, politics, cultural exchange and so on…and also to view ourselves from a distance outside. This is where compassion for ourselves and others enters [I will talk about this more further on]. My multi perspective approach suggests that we have the capacity or perhaps the potential ability to learn to ‘see’ everything around us [like having eyes all over our bodies] giving us the ability to discover trajectories we may not otherwise be aware of.

The act of painting is about seeing with the eye ball and pupil but also seeing with the mind’s eye. As I [and other artists] move back and forth from our work examining them as close and far distance we make decisions based on what our seeing eye thinks looks good and what our mind’s eye wants to achieve in respect of meaning, message, essence and/or aura. The physical act of moving back and forth is a dance which exemplifies the processes of negotiating the space/distance between the macro and micro. The creative act, in a way, provides clues for how we can negotiate living in the contemporary space/distance. Like any dance there are moments of inclusion and exclusion…the push-me-pull-you of energy.

I have written before about finding a shared compassion with visitors to my exhibition in Abu Dhabi in 2005. My paintings were the catalysts for the most amazing conversations with people from all over the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe. I realised I had to suspend ownership over the completion of my work because each conversation brought another completion. I discovered that my use of multi perspectives and the trans-cultural/religious tree-of-life motif propelled conversations to deeper levels because time was not spent on explanation. People shared their hopes, dreams and in some cases despair with me and in the process we discovered we had new perspectives of each other collapsing barriers of difference which set us apart. By discovering points of similarity we discovered intimate spaces of shared compassion.

I think this potential capacity for shared compassion is the great hope of a globalised world perhaps providing clues to new pathways to peace. This compassion is not about sympathy which has an intrinsic inequality. Compassion to me is much more honourable, respectful, mutual and has the potential to be truly intimate. So, if living in the space/distance between the macro and micro/global and local is what being contemporary is about I believe compassion has an important part to play. I say this because once people develop skills of ‘seeing’ different perspectives compassion and understanding, albeit not necessarily agreement, will propel relationships and negotiations both globally and locally. The alternative is too horrible!

For me contemporary art is a reflective and affective agent for the qualities within the ‘space between’ where simultaneity, compassion and the sensational [as opposed to sensationalist] are evoked with simplicity [as opposed to simplistically]. Contemporary art is an exploration of a space which I am beginning to think might be where we rediscover the aura encompassing time and space ie: existence. Contemporary art can [but not necessarily] be an affective agent assisting people to understand and negotiate this ‘space between’. I don’t like to think art has a defined ‘role’ because it denotes predetermination or prescription. However, art certainly has an affective agency.

But back to the Daphne Mayo lecture. I came away feeling more sure that my work is truly contemporary. In this age of multi media/new media I [and other artists] sometimes feel that because we don’t employ these new mediums then our work is ‘old hat’… unless of course it is simplistically confrontational/sensationalist and gains immediate attention [that’s another story].

I believe my work can be described as truly contemporary because I am inspired to paint images that ‘speak’ about the co-existence of the macro and micro, that identify the existence of the space between the macro and micro and the possibility of new horizons which are not necessarily in front of us, collapsing linear/horizon line notions of perspective, engaging other cultures without appropriating them, revealing the simplicity within the complex and vice versa. By doing these things I have become more comfortable shimming through concepts of distance whether close or far. My solo exhibition in London in 2002 was actually called ‘Distance’. Whilst I know I had not fully thought about the various issues I have written about here I was interested in the fact that distance could be about time and space, could be far and close, and that I was an Australian exhibiting at a far distance from her home country. This latter more literal aspect, whilst a little banal, I now realise is important because the physical/felt experience has a way of entering the psyche. That’s why I deliberately create paintings with multi perspectives hoping that a viewer might have a physical/felt experience of what it is like to be in another or many other places.

In this global world we also see an incredible growth in the self/personal development services. These range from orthodox to alternative often invoking the ‘spiritual’ to assist in attracting clients or genuinely exploring its endless qualities. People are gaining new perspectives of themselves by delving into the possibilities of self/personal development. So whilst our world view becomes vast, and we can now book a holiday in space, we also feel compelled to ‘look into’ and examine ourselves because we want to understand ‘how to be’ in a world which can be scarily immense. This desire can be extrapolated to the burgeoning support/counselling services for the other micro components of the whole ie: family, business, corporate, government, national entities.

I have uploaded the above image for a few reasons. One is that it is a new work. Two…it is ‘seeing’ the interiority of vastness at the same time as witnessing the vastness. Three…it plays with perspective. I have called this painting ‘Viscera’ meaning that the internal life forces of the earth are revealed. Yet, ignoring the detail the sum total is a large landscape. Yet, is the viewer sure of where they stand in view of this vast landscape? Is the viewer in front of a land and sky scene or above a landscape of land and water or inside the internal workings? The landscape seems to be born from a tree…the tree-of-life with its branches becoming visceral and vascular reminding us that our bodies hold these same truths and energies. This is where the image can devolve into something more universal than a particular landscape. I like the fact that a viewer standing at a distance will ‘see’ a different landscape to the one they see when up close, yet it is the same landscape. You, the reader, can have a similar experience by clicking on the image to make it larger. Enticing the viewer to move back and forth from the painting replicates the moves I made when creating it. This dance with distance is an important component of my work.

Viscera Oil on linen 90 x 200 cm 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Detail Earth For Sale!

Earth For Sale ! [120 x 160 cm Oil on linen] is an image I uploaded recently and said I would 'talk' more about it. This painting is painted with $ signs. It took me forever! However, I am really quite happy with the work as I believe it not only looks appealing, but it 'says' all that I wanted to suggest.
I have painted this as a deliberately ambiguous landscape. It could be an aerial view or a landscape of mountains and sky or even the sea/river. The viewer is unaware of the $ signs until they are up close. This is a deliberate action to suggest the Earth is being sold but have we really noticed?

For instance water is not simply water any more! Useable water is a finite commodity harvested, irrigated, licensed, allocated, contracted, mined and sold. Irrigated cotton farms turn ordinary land into mega million dollar properties. Minerals are furiously extracted to satisfy a frenzy of need in places such as China. Grains and seeds grown in overly stretched rich soils or in forcibly fertilised and irrigated marginal soils are harvested not just for food but for bio fuels. The latter reducing food supplies to starving countries. Forests are cut down to make money, but in the process compromising the balance of nature.
Water is of particular interest to me because I grew up on a grain farm at Pirrinuan, outside Dalby on the Darling Downs, Australia. The Pirrinuan Plain and the neighbouring Jimbour Plain have the deepest top soil in the southern very fertile fround. The soil is black and when it is wet it is thick and sticky. When it is dry it cracks open making children think the other side of the world will burst through.
I grew up watching the sky. My grandfather farmed the land for 40 years before my father took over in the mid 1960s. My grandfather never missed a crop, but just after my Dad started farming on his own crops were missed because the rain became less predictible. If it wasn't raining there were the increasing violent storms with hail and floods. I remember one whole side of the farm was gauged away by floodwaters ripping through from the Bunya Mountains. This gully became unuseable.
So...after marrying I moved to Goondiwindi where my husband [now ex] has a country law practice. Whilst we were not on the land we certainly were affected by the vagaries of nature. The population of Goondiwindi was around the 5,000 with another 5000 people living in the surrounding farming areas [ie: up to an hour or more drive from town] Cotton, wheat and other grains, cattle, wool, sheep, pigs offered a diversification of rural production in the Goondiwindi district.
But, over the 18 years I lived in Goondiwindi it was the change in how we thought about water which interested me. When I moved there in 1982 the climate was hot and dry and a farmer could apply for a water license for a nominal fee. Within a few years the Water Resources government department restricted licences. This made the licenses valuable and tradeable. A license allows a farmer to pump a certain amount of mega litres of water from the river system as long as the river water level is not below a certain height.
Farmers [particularly cotton farmers] built massive dams...these are so big you can sail on store water which they use during drought or water restricted times to irrigate their cotton crops. When the river systems flood farmers can 'harvest' water once the river level exceeds a certain height. The idea of 'harvesting' water seemed really odd to me when I first heard it.
But what is also interesting is the idea of 'water law'. So, licenses can be traded, transferred from one farm to another etc. Thus we have contracts for sale of entities to deliver water...and the various other legal issues are nuanced and endless and include many aspects of law [litigation, contract, banking, leasing etc] Now, there are also tradeable commodities which group water infrastructure and so on.
When I left Goondiwindi in 2000 the climate had been hot and humid for years. The change from hot and dry to hot and humid could only be because of the huge amount of extra water stored in dams and the evaporation of irrigated water . Interestingly, a friend of mine who has lived in Dubai for many many years has noticed the climate and temperature change there since Dubai authorities have 'greened' up the city. They use desalinated water in abundance.
This is my story. But, on the world stage water is a serious issue. Underground aquifers are depleted [causing soil spoiling salination], melting glaciers cause erosion and spill compromised water into rivers and oceans, developing countries have increased water needs, food production and crops for bio-fuel are thirsty. Yet, useful fresh water is not a renewable resource [it is less than 2% of the world’s supply].

Over the last few years my paintings have been explorations of life on our shared planet using the viscerality and power of the trans-cultural/religious tree-of-life as my guiding motif. My interest in water is part of this broad interest. Water, earth’s life force and blood is something all people must be aware of and look after. I think, maybe the shared concern will assist is drawing people together in a common goal. After all aren't we 70% water too!


Thursday, July 24, 2008


I recently wrote a review of an autobiography by Irena Sibley, 'Self Portrait of the Artist's Wife'. The review has been published in the Australian Women's Book Review. They have also placed one of my paintings on the cover. Here is the link:
Vastness Gouache on Paper 30 x 21 cm 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008


In my last BLOG I wrote about the invitation to be the guest speaker at the University of Queensland's
graduation ceremony for the Faculties of Arts, and Behavioural and Social Sciences. Well, it happened on Wednesday night and I am very happy with how it went. I was very honoured to have been asked and tried to give a speech which reflected my passion as an artist, but also giving a glimpse into how my art practice feeds my intellectual interests, and conversely how my intellectual interests and academic studies inform my art. I chose to speak about one artist's tool, and that is perspective. What I like about perspective is that it can also be a metaphor for how we view ourselves and others, and in this sense can be spatial and temporal with each kind of distance being close or far.
I went into a very brief timeline of the history of perspective ie: as a tool to give a 3 d impression on a 2d surface. What interests me is that the history of perspective reflects the growing understanding science and exploration gave of mankind's place on earth. I believe art, and its history, reflects this at the same time, but not as obviously so, being an affective agent albeit not always or necessarily a deliberate one.
I also believe that conversation triggered by art can stimulate people to open up to each other sharing dreams, hopes, fears and despair. I certainly experienced this when I exhibited at the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation in 2005. I have previously written about these wonderful experiences talking with people who came to see my show. I realised that the agendaless, but not directionless, quality of these conversations enabled me and my viewers to see each other from different perspectives, opening up a space of shared compassion and hope, plus a realisation that we were more fundamentally similar than different. This agendaless, but not directionless quality of conversation triggered by art, I believe may just hold clues to new ways of communication ....and possibly new pathways to peace on earth.
In my speech I talked about academic study and degrees being one aspect of a person's personal perspective tool kit. I suggested that imagination, inspiration, flexibiity, judgement and experience enable a person to create both literal and metaphoric perspective, and that coupling these attributes with the skills gained in academic study, they give a person a powerful tool to view themselves and others... with hopefully recognising the compassionate qualities or potential of such an ability.
I made reference to the fact that artists once they have learnt rules of any kind, enjoy breaking or manipulating them. When an artist discards the rules of perspective they basically rely on their eye. As Vasari wrote of Michelangelo, 'He held his compass, that is his judgement, in his eyes not his hands'. I suggested that an artist's process is one of continual critical assessment and imagination. From the very first issue, which is the blank canvas, an artist's mind is working. However, a canvas is never blank because, in my case anyway, my imagination paints many images on its surface well before I decide how to make the first mark. Once this mark is made it is a dance of critical assessment, chance, controlled accidents, obsessional detail and constant questioning and problem solving.
But, I suggested that the artist's eye is not just the eye of eye ball and pupil, but the mind's eye too. So, when I or any artist, move back and forth from our work examining it at close and far distance we are making decisions based on what our seeing eye thinks looks good, and what our mind's eye wants to achieve in terms of meaning, message, essence and/or aura.
So, like an artist imagining before they make that first mark, we all have dreams about how our lives might be, but it is action which makes that first mark. Be like an artist and keep your eye on the immediate surrounds and seeable horizon, but your mind's eye beyond the horizon [remembering it may not necessarily be in front of you!]. This comment in brackets referred to my description of my own work where I play with perspective so that a viewer may feel as if they are at many points of view at the one time eg: in front , behind, inside, above and below etc.
So, that's a brief outline of my talk. The painting above plays with perspective because it could appear to be an aerial view at the same time as being inside, or in front of a landscape with hills and sky. It is not until you get close to this painting that the viewer realises it is created with thousands of $ signs. From a distance this is not evident. I will talk more about this work in a future post.
Earth For Sale 120 x 160 cm oil on linen

Friday, July 11, 2008


Well, the week has been busy with various disparate activities. Next week will also be busy, but I will have time to paint. However, on Wednesday I have both an exciting and challenging experience. That is....I am the guest speaker at the University of Queensland's graduation ceremony for the faculties of Arts, and Behavioural and Social Science. I will be speaking for 5-8 minutes. So, I have written a speech which I will not read, but will refer to as I go along. I have chosen to speak about perspective...both literally and metaphorically. I will say not more now, but will elaborate after Wednesday.

I am honoured to be asked to make this speech. My family does have a history at UQ. Some families have multiple lawyers or doctors, but my family has a diverse mix of courses and experiences. My mother has 3 degrees from UQ including a Masters by Research in Education. She completed this as an external student when I was in my late teens. It was a huge amount of work, and before computers, so the floor in the spare room was covered in piles of papers and notes. My Mother did 2 of her degrees externally because we lived on a farm. I look back at her efforts and they were mighty!

My brother has 1 1/2 degrees and is now one of the Assistant Directors of IT at UQ. My 2 paternal Aunts studied at UQ in the 1940/50s. One aunt completed a Commerce Degree and the other aunt was UQ's first female graduate from Agricultural Science. Her husband is also a graduate of Agricultural Science, having completed post-graduate study. He started at UQ as a returned soldier with my Aunt being one of his lecturers. Interestingly, my Aunt also taught my former parents-in-law when they entered study after World War II.

One of my aunt and uncle's sons completed a PhD in Ionospheric Physics in the mid 1980s and won a scholarship to the prestigious Max Planck Institute in Germany. However, sadly he died on an expedition climbing Mt Everest. With only about 30 m to go to reach the summit he and the other climbers had to turn back due to the blizzard conditions. They were also climbing without oxygen. On his descent my cousin slipped and fell backwards into a major ravine and has never been found. A young doctor from Melbourne also slipped on the same spot.

And to something happier. My daughter will start at UQ next year. So, in a few years time I will be seated in the audience at the Faculty of Arts graduation feeling very proud I am sure.

Seeing Into The Vastness Gouache on paper 40 x 50 cm framed 2008

Saturday, July 05, 2008


The announcement of the winner of the inaugural LAUNCH: Clayton Utz Travelling Scholarship was this week. The winner is Martin Smith and well done too. The remaining 24 artists
still feel like winners though. Well, I do and I know a few others said they felt like a winner. Part of the reason is that this award has an afterlife beyond the exhibition period because all the finalist's works will be hung at Clayton Utz's office in Brisbane for 6 months. The works are currently on show at Metro Arts in Edward Street until July 12 and will be taken to the legal eagles' office after this date. Apparently over 300 people a day need to visit Clayton Utz and this means that all [or a large %] of these people will get to see the LAUNCH art work. And, the art is for sale. Providing this kind of exposure is a wonderful way to support artists.
It is very exciting to be preselected for an art award. The opportunity to have your work seen by preselectors, judges and then the public is wonderful. But, after the exhibition period, and if your work has not won or sold, it must come home. Clayton Utz and Positive Solutions idea of extending the life of LAUNCH is admirable and appreciated.
Talking of preselections. My entry for the Broken Hill Regional Gallery Works on Paper Outback Award has been preselected. The prize is announced on July 18. This is the third year in a row that my entry has been preselected so I am pleased there are 3 different judges out there who seem to like my works on paper.
The image above is the painting in LAUNCH. Its title is Shared Destinies and my thoughts were about how no matter what our differences etc are we all share this planet. So, ultimately our destinies are common to everyone ie: the BIG picture destiny stuff! The increasing desire to look after the Earth is part of the BIG picture. Through a shared caring we may just find clues to better communication creating a healthy and balanced peace on our planet.
Shared Destinies Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I am quite excited because there is a small article about me and my work in the University of Queensland's latest Graduate Contact magazine. It is in the section called Keep In Contact which has a variety of stories about various graduates from various years. It is always interesting to read an article about yourself. Whilst I was interviewed for the piece it is interesting to see what the writer has considered important. I am really pleased that, in this case, my thoughts about conversation and art come thorugh very clearly.
I have written about my ideas relating to conversation and art before on this BLOG. However, I am always adding to these ideas. Something which has become a little more focused are my thoughts about the agendaless quality of spontaneous conversations triggered by art. Each conversation is different with each viewer. Intimacy can be achieved. However, I think intimacy is different to discussion about intimate things. The latter can happen at various types of meetings eg: about women's health, poverty, divorce and so on. However, in the case of a meeting there is normally an agenda, whether formal or informal. Discussing intimate experiences does not necessarily mean there is an intimacy of shared feelings and emotions which have surfaced due to reactions to a work of art. My experience has been that exchange is different to sharing.
This painting above is a work on paper. It is called Sunrise Over The Vastness and whilst it is a landscape I was also thinking of the idea of personal horizons and the illumination of these.
Sunrise Over The Vastness Gouache on paper 21 x 30 cm 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

Well, the last week has been a mixed bag. Some good, some not so good.

A good thing was that I went to Melbourne overnight on Friday to attend the opening of a Small Works exhibition at Brunswick Street Gallery, Fitzroy I have six 30 x 30 cm oil on board paintings in the show. Friday night was amazing. 330 artists were exhibiting and I think there were over 1200 artworks hung. I am absolutely sure about 1200 people came to the show on Friday night as it was packed with people coming and going. When I left there was a line of people waiting to get in. The line went up the 3 flights of stairs and out into the street! The exhibition is actually very good too, so well worth the wait for these people. The show ends 19 June.

I have had some really great feedback from my presentation at FEHVA. It is great when people contact you after an event.

Last week saw me also grapple with unprofessionalism from an field unrelated to the arts. I am still reeeling from the shifting sands of statements that contradict, being charged for advice by people recommended to me but I am now told were not up to the task ... and it goes on. Needless to say this is an unwelcome occurrence in my life. However, it makes me think more about what it is to be professional.

I am a professional artist who is in the latter stages of being considered an emerging artist. This state of emergence can take some time! My observation is that the older you are the harder it is to emerge into that stage of an artist's career where good gallery representation, critical writing, major awards, inclusion in curated exhibitions and being acquired by major corporate or institutional collections happen. However, tenacity is the clue and I've got it in bundles. For me professionalism means everything from using good quality materials, spending time experimenting to ensure that my technique and understanding of the medium grows and is revitalised, thinking and researching about ideas, constantly observing myself and my art, being honest in everything I do from material choice to entering prizes, writing about my work in meaningful and truthful ways, maintaining best business practice, responding to people with integrity, and being brave and confident enough to show myself and my art to the world.

Awesome Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm unframed

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

This painting sold a few years ago. It is called 'Go West Young Woman', taking off the old saying, 'Go west young man!' The 5 women are young brides heading out to their futures in remote and rural areas. Often the allure of the rural lifestyle beckons/seduces with promise, not revealing the hardships and lonliness.

But, that idea of 'going west' out into the frontiers can be a metaphor for our own internal lives. Like going places in our thoughts and experiences which stretch and broaden us. Over the weekend I attended FEHVA at Bangalow. It was excellent and certainly extended me. I spent 2 days attending very interesting sessions presented by an array of artists. I learnt a lot and I also came away feeling that I am not alone in my quest to juggle all the elements needed to enable me to paint, exhibit, be inspired and to develop my career as an artist. The sessions were varied from discussions about the struggle to paint, how to manage competitions [preselection, winning and not!], healing, indigineous responses to the apology and so on.

I was very pleased to also be one of the presenters [co-presenting with indigenous artist Sally Harrison]. Our topic was Peace and Reconciliation. Sally spoke about the internal peace she has and continues to find with her art. I spoke about my ideas that art, artists and the conversations which ensue may hold new clues to pathways to more about external peace.

Bangalow is a great little town and I want to go back to enjoy it some more.

Last Friday night the Churchie National Emerging Art Show opened. I was one of the preselected artists, but was not lucky enough to win. It was just great to be selected.

And, I learnt late last week that I am one of the 25 artists selected for the inaugural LAUNCH: Clayton Utz Travelling Scholarship Award. The 25 paintings will be hung in an exhibition at Brisbane's Metro Arts in July and then they will hang at Clayton Utz [large law firm] for 6 months. One person will win money to go towards travel associated with professional development. So, I am very happy to be one of the 25 artists!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


During the last week the word tenacious has been mentioned to me a few times. Basically in the context that my tenacity will pay off in terms of success etc. I replied to one person by saying 'Yep, my name is Kathryn Tenacity Brimblecombe-Fox'! We had a laugh together. I love what I do...I love painting and I love thinking about a work in progress or ideas for new works. Much of my thinking time is spent 'creating' in my head and I work consistently. Is this tenacity? I suppose it could be described as such, but I don't think it is all of the story. An artist has to be tenacious about pushing forward to gain recognition, critical and commercial success. This means constantly looking for opportunities to exhibit and promote oneself. This means time is taken up with writing proposals, entering competitions and attending functions. The latter may seem a bit odd to someone outside the artworld. However, being an artist ie: a painter working in my studio, is a lonely activity...although I do love the solitude! If I did not have children to pick up at the end of the day I could go for days wthout talking to anyone. So, attending functions gets me out and about meeting other artists, curators, writers, collectors and others interested in the arts.

I am working on ideas about water at the moment. And I am being tenacious about it too! Constantly thinking, noting down ideas, making quick sketches. My time growing up on a grain farm, time spent in Goondiwindi [where there is a lot of irrigation], observations of water use in the Middle East and looking at how city folk are dealing with water restrictions. All these elements and more are informing my ideas. The fact that a fundamental aspect of human survival has an increasing monetry value is everything from absurd to frightening.

Past and Future Together Gouache on paper 30 x 21 cm

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I have just returned from 3 days in Melbourne. Had a great...and exhausting time. Visited lots of galleries and walked miles. I think I've left my feet in Melbourne!

I really liked Melbourne. I have only ever visited 3 times before and for very short periods of time. People were friendly and welcoming.

The work on paper above was painted at the same time as the work in my previous post. I am continuing to be intrigued by the Spiral Dynamics theory by Don Beck [also mentioned in the previous post].

Also, the idea of the future revisiting the past...and even aspects of the past which may not have previously been considered important is fascinating.

I am formulating some thoughts about the popularity of images of animals in current art trends. I saw quite a few animal works in Melbourne, and have noticed the trend in Sydney and in Brisbane. Plus in the art magazines. Do images of animals provide a sense of security in stressful times? Do they indicate a need for unconditional love? I am interested in looking at animal totems to see if somehow artists who create these images are tapping into ancient ritualistic vibrations. I have to be harsh and suggest some of the work I've seen is just tapping into a popular trend for opportunistic reasons.

In The Ebb and Flow Gouache on paper 30 x 22 cm


Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Recalibration is a great word. It has re-entered my vocabularly recently and I am so grateful that is has. I've used it in nearly everything I have written over the last couple of weeks. And, I have done a lot of writing! I've written submissions for special exhibition spaces, artists' statements for my work as a whole and for particular works I've entered into competitions. And, I was asked by HECATE to write a review of Irena Sibley's new book Self Portrait of the Artist's Wife. So, for those of you who don't know, HECATE is an 'interdisciplinary journal of women's liberation, edited by Carole Ferrier now in its 33rd year. It is published by Hecate Press, in association with the WGCSC Centre, in the School of EMSAH at the University of Queensland. AWBR: Australian Womens' Book Review following its alliance with Hecate, has now reached its 19th year of publication of reviews, by women, of new publications by women mainly in Australia and the pacific region.' It will be published online soon, so you can read my review then!

And, here I am again ...writing.

I have done some new work on paper and I am wanting to expand on the ideas I have explored both on paper and canvas.

Dr. Don Beck’s and Christopher Cowen’s theory of Spiral Dynamics* has recently come to my attention. This complex theory sheds light on some of the questions I ask myself and like any good theory it stimulates more questions. Memetics is a pivotal element of the theory. The spiral, which I have previously used, resonates with me because its energy flows up and down and across oscillating with potential. I like the idea that the spiral is not static and can reverberate forwards and backwards. My interest in shared history [which I have previously written about on this BLOG] leads me to think about how our future has aspects which propel us back to the a continual reverberation...hopefully picking up only the positive apsects! A recalibration action!

* Beck Don & Cowen C, Spiral Dynamics-Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change Blackwell Publishing, USA, UK, Australia, 2006.

Backwards And Forwards In Time Gouache on paper 30 x 21 cm

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Can one person’s epiphany change the consciousness of their genealogical past and therefore future? This question has been presented to me in the last week or so. And it fascinates me. If an individual can change dramatically in their thinking, forgiving, loving etc can this affect the consciousness of ancestors creating a recalibration from that time to the future? It has been said that each generation not only carries physical characteristics in their DNA, but also perhaps the consciousness [cellular memory] of previous generations.

It has been suggested to me that forgiveness and unconditional love are two of the most powerful 'things' a person can show, think and do and that these qualities can create change not only in the individual but in anyone connected to this person. I had always thought this was just manifested in the present, but how intriguing to think previous generations may benefit from someone-who-lives-in-their-future's departure from generationally ingrained beliefs and attitudes.

This topic could convolute for a long time. However, I am excited that this proposition was presented to me just after I finished the painting above. I had already called it 'Generations' and my thoughts when I painted it were about shared consciousness within families over time.

For a long time many of my paintings have had some kind of connection with something which is about to happen to me or be presented to me. Obviously I must be on some kind of wave length because there have been many uncanny moments. I love it.

Generations oil on linen 80 x 120 cm

Friday, March 28, 2008


This painting is called 'Metaphor' and I painted it a few years ago. I actually really love this painting and have had it hanging in my house continuously for awhile. This is what I have previously written about this work:

When I paint I see, I feel and I sense. I love painting. When I paint my landscapes I immerse myself in something which is not easily explained, but which is felt. I think about my childhood, youth and adulthood. Distance is time, space and memory and it can be simultaneously far and close.

I grew up on a grain farm outside Dalby which is on the Darling Downs in South West Queensland, Australia. My parent’s farm was in the middle of a fertile but treeless black soil plain. Looking west there was nothing but the flat horizon, looking east the Bunya Mountain Ranges cut a majestic silhouette against a relentless sky.

I like to use landscape elements as metaphors for life. Mountains have always been something to conquer. They are metaphors for overcoming adversity and gaining confidence. In Metaphor I have brought the mountain close to the viewer to enable an engagement with majesty but to make it absolutely conquerable

I am really pleased to say that 'Metaphor' is now hanging at Fine Design Consultants,
46 Douglas St, Milton, Brisbane 4064 P: 0733696636 So, if you would like to see this painting drop on down to Fine Design Consultants.

ALSO, 'Wonderland: An exhibiton inspired by childhood' continues at Kiln Gallery and has been extended until 13 April. The show looks great.

AND, I have been invited to speak at a festival called FEHVA @ Bangalow Have a look at the website. I am thrilled because I get another chance to talk about my work and also about art and peace. PLUS, I have been invited to speak at another conference [details coming] at the University of Queensland in September...about art and peace.

So, things are happening!

Friday, March 21, 2008


Easter break is here and a time to rest! Well, I have just cleaned the house, added to my website, checked out a few leads and now I am updating my BLOG. The kids are away and I have uninterrrupted time! BLISS
Wonderland: An exhibition inspired by childhood @ KILN Gallery is attracting attention and has been extended until Sunday 13 April.
I have been painting and thoroughly enjoying myself. I have also just ordered 4 more huge canvases and look forward to starting on them. The idea of vastness is on my thoughts at the moment. Where does vast begin and end? A cell is vast when we realise there are other minute components which give the cell life. Yet, it can also seem so small. Our house can seem vast yet viewed from a distance it diminishes. The Earth is vast, but seen from space it is just another dot in the galaxy.
I keep an eye on the stock market. It can seem so vast yet it can start to crumble at the drop of a hat [so-to-speak]. I laugh at the term sub-prime! It gives a connotation of being small and unimportant, less than prime/premium. Yet, the collapse of the obviously vast sub-prime world of lending/borrowing has caused vast repercussions around the world. The erosion of confidence which has lead to the credit squeeze has seen vast enterprises and corporations reduced to a fraction of their values of 12 months ago...some crumbling within days. So every little component of a system is important!
So can vastness be attributed to an emotion or a behaviour? I think it can. We can feel 'vastly' happy, sad etc. How about the vastness of greed. Some comentators attribute the floundering financial system to greed which is a pretty basic human foible...some would say sin. So, if the financial system can flounder across the world because of something as basic as greed it certainly does not make our world seem very sophisticated or enlightened at all! If basic greed is the underlying insidious culprit then let's find and encourage systems where greed cannot find a home.
Now...the painting above has nothing to do with greed or the world of global finance...except of course it is for sale! This image is a landscape albeit an ambiguous one. It seems to be turned inside out...its workings are revealed...disclosed, transparent...two of the many words which are bandied around the financial world!!!
Oh yes...check out I have been asked to be one of the guest speakers at this fabulous festival @ Bangalow which is very near Byron Bay.
Water Penetrates The Intimate Vastness 80 x 120 cm oil on linen

Thursday, March 13, 2008


The group exhibition 'Wonderland: An Exhibition Inspired By Childhood' opens tomorrow night. The exhibition is online at The theme is such a great launching pad for all sorts of things. As adults we still carry the child we were inside us...the inner child. However, it is interesting to think of this in relation to some of my previous posts about inherited memories and that perhaps some of these are not useful to us. I know I have carried beliefs which at one level I know are limiting but at another level I have found it hard to let them go without guilt, sadness, fear etc. Limiting beliefs must be irradicated!!! And done without angsting ourselves.
I have written a short artist's statement for the Wonderland exhibition. My childhood has given me an incredible supply of wonderings! I find myself often thinking about the landscape of my childhood. It was a vast landscape with endless skies and flat horizons. In a way it provided me with an experience of endless possibility. However, until recently I have not seen the connection between a lived spatial experience using it as a metaphor for a possible lived life.

Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox B.A [UQ-Art History Majors]

I grew up on my parent’s grain farm outside Dalby on the Darling Downs. The relentless space of the flat treeless Pirrinuan plain perpetually influences my work. When I was a child I ‘dreamt’ I could fly and indeed I ‘knew’ what my parent’s farm looked like from the sky even though I had never been in an aeroplane above it. I traveled to and from school on a bus and as I sat there gazing out the window [trying to ignore the big High School boys who sat down the back] I used to imagine what it would be like to catch the summer mirages, enter their mysterious shimmerings.

The vastness of my childhood landscape allowed for both distant and close perspective to view the patterns, shapes, movements and the minutae of life. I remember foreign visitors [and even some Australian city folk] being overwhelmed by the space and flatness of the landscape. Their reactions were both physical and emotional.

Looking east the Bunya Mountain Ranges cut a silhouette against the sky. Looking west the flat horizon sometimes seemed to reveal the curvature of the earth. The Pirrinuan Plain with its 12 m of black topsoil provided a richness of seasonal contrasts: the blackness of the ploughed soil, rich green young seedling crops, the ochre of an expanse of ripened wheat or the bright yellow of sunflowers and the beauty of red sorghum crops. The cracked dry earth could swell within moments of a shower of rain. Snakes disapeared into those cracks causing my two younger brothers and me great anxiety especially if we saw one whilst walking home from the school bus. Plagues of locusts, un-named beetles and mice periodically descended on us. I remember locusts jumping on my face and head as I watched tv. I remember hearing mice scurrying across my bed at night! But, these pests caused great damage to my father’s crops.

I play with perspective in my paintings and I believe this is influened by the vastness of my childhood landscape where I could simultaneously pretend to fly, pretend to be inside the mirage and gaze upon distant horizons.

Shared Destinies Oil on linen 120 x 160 cm

Sunday, March 09, 2008


                                      Collective Memory Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm

This is a new painting. The idea of collective memory really interests me because until recently I thought memory was personal, individual and private. I am sure aspects of it are, but to think a group we can have memories is intriguing. Also, the possibility that inherited consciousness from the past may have a subconscious influence on our lives is fascinating. Indeed, it makes one ask questions about the thoughts and beliefs which we carry, but upon deep reflection do not vibrate at the right level for us. Are they part of an inherited consciusness which is not useful in this day and age? How do we rid ourselves of this consciousness particularly if it is not useful? Recognising that it exists is probably the first step.

In this painting I have placed the trans-cultural/religious tree-of-life at the centre of an emanation of thoughts which are represented by the small dots. These thoughts change colour as they move through time to become memories. Yet, everything is connected and a vibration is maintained. The tree-of-life represents everyone...past-present-future.

Collective Memory Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm

Friday, February 29, 2008


I love opportunities which fall out of the sky. And just recently one of these did. I have been invited to participate in a group exhibition called Wonderland at KILN Gallery, Cnr LaTrobe and Enogerra Tce, Paddington. The details of the show will go online at the gallery's website early next week. The painting I diplayed in my last post will be in the exhibition along with other recent and new works.

I am steadily working on new paintings. I have no plans at this stage for a solo exhibition this year, but I am enjoying creating new work and following my instincts. It is a deliberate decision not to have a solo exhibition. I decided I'd prefer to be in group exhibitions...and the KILN show fell in my lap...enter some competitions [I am off to Stanthorpe today for the opening of the Stanthorpe Art Award for which I have been preselected]...and to make proposals to various galleries for different kinds of exhibitions to happen maybe late this year or into next year.

From The Heart Oil on linen 85 x 147 cm

Saturday, February 09, 2008


I've have been painting lately. And I am happy. My only problem is that I have not had the paintings photographed professionally and my own attempts are never pleasing especially with large works. That said, I have uploaded this image. Trust me the painting is better in the flesh. Photographing paintings is a problematic area. I think many not-so-successful paintings can look much better in a photo and a great painting cannot have true justice done to it. Makes one think about the difficulty of preselecting art for competitions etc from photographic images. How many great paintings never get through and how many second rate ones do?

Over this weekend I have been attending one of the most interesting conferences I have have ever been to. It is the GLOBAL ACTION TO PREVENT WAR: A COALITION-BUILDING EFFORT TO STOP WAR, GENOCIDE, AND INTERNAL ARMED CONFLICT conference which is being hosted by the Australian Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland. The speakers are world class and indeed come from all corners. Check their website out @ Today I heard and learnt about violence/conflict in Central America, and East Timor. Yesterday I learnt about guns control and arms dealing/movement. I heard about the latest efforts of the UN. One speaker called war a disease and maybe prevention should be treated just like disease prevention. So much to think about and to hope for.

The guest speaker last night was a man called Steve Killelea founder of Vision for Humanity and the energiser for the development of the “Global Peace Index and Delivering Peace Dividends” . The role of business in peace and the benefits of peace for business are core elements to be understood. Check out

I was also alterted to Ranan Lurie's [the famous cartoonist] Uniting Painting which is installed at the UN in NY. The concept is to make it a continuous painting which moves throughout the world. Check out An amazing man and family. Plus the Uniting Painting is fantastic to look at and in concept.

One thing I am very pleased about is the obvious understanding that art has a place to play in the Peace process. It is acknowledged by academics, UN reps and people who work on the ground.

Into My Galaxy Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm

Sunday, February 03, 2008


I am very excited to report that my painting 'Shared Time' has been preselected for the $15,000 Stanthorpe Art Prize which is announced in a couple of weeks. A good way to start 2008.

I have been thinking about the UN's recent announcement of 4 new Peace Ambassadors. It prompted me to google the UN to look at who have been made Peace and Goodwill Ambassadors over the last few years. Well, searching the UN website for this topic is not easy. However, I did find some information. I was searching because I am intrigued about the large number of 'artists' who have been made these wonderfully titled Ambassadors. They are musicians, actors, authors and so on. Mind you, I have not found a visual artist among them....but I have not been able to do a conclusive search so there maybe a visual artist somewhere. But, the bottom line is that the list is predominantly made up of artists in the literary, musical and acting worlds. That's absolutely fine because these people are good with words, performing and getting up in front of people.

In the past I have been a bit sceptical about the UN's Peace Ambassadorial announcements. It seemed to me that the UN was using the celebrity status of people to draw attention without considering any underlying depth. That said, I can understand the tactic of embracing celebrity to enhance a cause because in this day and age a celebrity is going to attract media and mass attention. Celebrity on its own is a wondrous thing, but what about the person who has somehow been bestowed this label? What about the 'artist' that lurks underneath the veneer of celebrity?

I have thought about this a reasonable amount. Is it the 'celebrity' element or the 'artist' element which really carries the truth about these appointments. I suspect that UN and others are not even aware that whilst the celebrity component attracts it is really the 'artist' which holds the depth and compassion needed to carry the import of these appointments. Artists look at the world differently, they communicate differently. They provide an alternative viewpoint, paint pictures with words, gesture, paint, movement and sound. They stir the human being at levels we do not truly understand.

So, whilst there are famous sports stars and people from the political and diplomatic worlds on the list of Peace Ambassador they are outnumbered by the artists. And, I think it is the artists who can make a difference. Some recent recruits to the Ambassaorial ranks are Daniel Barenboim who is a world famous conductor and pianist, Yo-Yo Ma who is a reknown cellist, Elie Wiesel a Nobel Prize Laureate and George Clooney an Academy Award Actor.

The one person with the mass media celebrity status of a Star in the latest Ambassadorial recruits is Mr. Clooney. People may scoff but he is an artist and since making films such as Syriana, Good Night and Good Luck, Michael Clayton we can see there is more than just a pretty face to this man. His efforts in Darfur are also worthy of anyone who tries to make a difference. He shares with his other artist Ambassadors a way of thinking which the western world might be able to feel at some level but cannot identify. My experiences in the Middle East suggest to me that those who live outside the West will and do understand.

Shared Time 120 x 137 cm Oil on linen