Sunday, March 18, 2012


Ouroboros Oil on linen 122 x 153 cm

Ouroboros is an ancient symbol of a snake or dragon eating its tail.
Please see links below for more information. 

MY Ouroboros

I have painted the body of the snake as a tree...yes...the tree-of-life. For me, the symbol's mutability means that it is capable of signifying the cascade across the nano and vast. Regular readers will know of my interest in the tree's vascular giving systems, whether they be blood vessels, Earth's water systems or as yet undetected energy systems powering the Universe and more. My visual explorations of perspective often incorporate the tree-of-life, which can translate into 'scapes' of land, the cosmos or intimate places witnessing life's first impulse. The tree-of-life has helped me 'see' multiple perspectives, even simultaneously.

These perspectives are not only external to me, but also those that lie within. The tree-of-life's symbolism reaches into the psyche, stirring imagination, stimulating human race memory...with the ultimate realisation that intimate places are vast in possibility, thus linking the nano and cosmic in a dance echoing the high drama and the intimate frisson of a Tango.

In Ouroboros the tree's significance is that it embodies the magnitude of all time, and all existence. It 'speaks' to the instance of life's first flutter and to cosmic resonnances, it collapses perspective revealing hints of the 'ultimate synthesis'. In this painting the snake consumes its body of life, fueling the eternal propulsion.

The ouroboros is painted against a cosmic-like background, its circular appearance creating a portal which seems to promise spaces beyond, at the same time as possibily reflecting places already been. It appears to float in an indeterminable place that seems familiar.

                                                           Youtube Video 'Ouroboros'

I have had a lot of fun creating this new painting Ouroboros. I first encountered the ouroboros, as a visual descriptor of quantum and cosmic worlds, in Royal Astronomer, Lord Martin Rees's book 'Just Six Numbers' [1] which I read in late 2010. [See image below] I was very excited to read Rees's thoughts on the relationship between the nano and vast.  Whilst I'd seen the motif over the years, I had not paid it any real attention, until I read 'Just Six Numbers'. Nobel Prize winner, physicist Sheldon Glashow was apparently the first to use the ouroboros as a visual descriptor of the connection and unification of the extremes of size and scale.

Since initially writing this post, I have been alerted to the Yale University 2009 Terry Lectures, all given by husband and wife team, cosmologist Prof. JOEL R. PRIMACK and NANCY ELLEN ABRAMS. In the first of the four lectures they superbly explain the 'cosmic ouroboros'. Please check out this YouTube video  The website for their jointly witten book 'The New Universe and The Human Future: How Shared Cosmology Could transform the World' is

Regular readers will know of my long and induring interest in perspective and distance, the play between the intimacies of vastness, within and without, nano and cosmic. They will also know of my focus on the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life symbol as a way of exploring the potencies of age old symbols and the secrets they hold. The ouroboros is also a transcultural/religious symbol, which through history and across continents has 'spoken' meaningfully to people about life.

Below is an image of the ouroboros in 'Just Six Numbers'. The caption in the book  is:
The ouraboros. There are links between the microworld of particles, nuclei and atoms [left] and the cosmos [right]. [2]
In the text Rees writes, Symbolized 'gastronomically' at the top, is the ultimate synthesis that still eludes us-between the cosmos and the quantum. [3]

Here are two links to presentations where Lord Martin Rees mentions the ouroboros and his .
2. TED Talk Our Final Century

Here are some links to more information about the ouroboros and its history.

1. Rees M., Just Six Numbers, Basic Books, NY, 2000
2. Ibid., P. 9
3. Ibid., P. 8

Master Template
The Beginning
Dance With Distance
Elemental Dance


My talk last week at the University of Queensland's Women's College went well. My topic was Beauty Art and You. In my last post Beauty Has No Antonymn I touched upon some of the things I spoke about.

And, in 2012 I painted Cosmic Ouroboros The Post for this painting is the most popular on my BLOG!



Kay said...

I really liked this post and the painting is wonderful.

Audubon Ron said...

Definitely 3-D.


Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox said...

Dear Kay and Ron,
Thank you for visiting and commenting too. I will admit to being rather happy with this painting! K

Heather Price said...

This picture, while lovely, doe not do justice to the actual painting - which took my breath away whe nI saw it. Kathryn's applications of paint on linen is extraordinary . I am not sure how she manages the magical patterns that emerge as if part of the weaving - the deep and varied tones invite you into the mystery that comes with this ancient symbol. A superb piece of art that surely belongs in a major art gallery, rather than to be coveted by a more than fortunate private collector. Well done Kathryn.
Heather Price, Brisbane, Australia.

Anonymous said...

A superb uroboros which reflects Starlight of Ancient Times