Friday, October 09, 2015


From The Primordial Soup Pencil on paper 2015
This is another sketch from my desk. Yes, my desk at university, where I spend a lot of time these days. Regular readers will know I have returned to university to undertake an M. Phil [research higher degree]. So, while I am reading, writing, taking notes I try to capture some of  the images that float through my head. My sketchbook and pencils are sitting beside my notepads and library books, ready to picked up when inspiration arrives. Sometimes, it's a bit hard to capture inspiration, but the image above, I think, has been caught rather well. 
So, how did this image happen? What was I reading when it suddenly popped into my head? Well...I had been given a task to write 1000 words about an artwork and the chosen piece was 'The Crochet Coral Reef' curated by Margaret and Christine Wertheim. So, it's not actually a piece, but an ongoing project that includes collaborative community activities and exhibitions around the world, involving over eight thousand people [as of 2015]. Please read about it here on the Wertheim sister's website for their not-for profit Institute For Figuring [IFF] based in Los Angeles.
Yes, the 'Crochet Coral Reef' is created with the traditional women's handicraft of crochet. And, it's far more complex that you might think! The coral-like pieces created by crochet artists are also 3d representations of non-Euclidean hyperbolic geometry. 3d modelling of hyperbolic geometry had remained elusive, despite it appearing in nature ie: lettuce leaves, coral. It remained elusive until 1997 when Dr. Daina Taimina, a mathematician at Cornell University, showed how it could be modelled in 3d by creating coral-like forms using crochet, a handicraft she had learnt as a child.
In 2005 Margaret Wertheim, a physicist and science writer and her sister Dr. Christine Wertheim, an artist, writer and academic decided to crochet coral using Dr. Taimina's techniques. Both sisters had learnt crochet, along with other handicrafts, as children growing up in Brisbane, Australia. Christine suggested they create a coral reef. [IFF] As Australians [Queenslanders!] they had a connection to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the ten wonders of the world, and under increasing threat.
Please have a look at the many and various images of 'Crochet Coral Reef' marvellous exhibitions on the IFF website . There's an array of different types of exhibitions, from those where the crocheted coral is amassed to create colourful reefs, to those where amazing individual pieces are placed on plinths, taking on a prophetic gravitas.
As time has gone by, the choice of crochet material has extended beyond traditional woollen yarn to include plastic wrappers, wire, video tape and more.[IFF] This is a deliberate confrontation with the detritus of the Anthropocene, especially in the marine context. Yes, the 'Crochet Coral Reef' project is not only an expression of creative handicraft and a modelling of hyperbolic geometry, it is also deliberately placed within important environmental discourses.
The' Crochet Coral Reef' project seriously provokes commentary about environmental  degradation, ocean sustainability and global warning. But, hey...let's take it to the full whammy...I argue that the project warns of existential risks, those threats that may cause annihilation of humanity and the planet. However, the project's human elements ie: community collaboration and the hands-on crochet technique, unmediated by hi-tech equipment and intervention, remind us that touch and time can be reclaimed. As it confronts us, the 'Crochet Coral Reef' project also offers multiple pathways for re-thinking...the hyperbolic taking us on a roller-coaster that provides multiple perspectives.
So, how did my sketch From The Primordial Soup erupt from this story of crochet, hyperbolic  geometry and environmental discourses?
Here goes...
I had previously read about a new geological term...plastiglomerate! Yes, it is actually a geological term to describe a new rock, a mixture of natural materials combined with plastic, being delivered from the sea. You can read about plastiglomerate on the Geological Society of America GSA Today website.
With this new 'rock' in mind, it's easy to see confluence with the multi-material morphed coral forms in 'Crochet Coral Reef' exhibitions eg: check out the 2014 exhibition at NYU in Abu Dhabi and the 2015 one in San Antonio, Texas.
As I thought more about plastiglomerate and pondered the far reaching critical possibilities of 'The Crochet Coral Reef' project I asked questions. Is plastiglomerate a metaphor for a new kind of birth, a mutation where detritus and DNA are mixed? Are we witnessing a prophetic delivery where mutations are, in fact, inevitable? Have they already occurred in other areas so far undetected? As landscape coughs up these new entities, what is humanity's fate?
Given that life may have begun in the primordial ocean I think it is interesting that plastiglomerate has been created in, and delivered by, our 21st century oceans. This is what inspired From The Primordial Soup.

Friday, October 02, 2015


Damned Gouache on paper 21 x 30 cm 2011
Recently, in the news, there was a report about an abandoned silver mine near Texas in S.W Queensland on the border of New South Wales, Australia. Contaminated ponds pose risks to the local Dumaresqu River, which flows into the McIntyre River, which then flows southwards into the Murray Darling. Apparently, it only needs a minimal amount of rain to fall to cause havoc with overflow into the river systems.
This kind of situation is totally unacceptable, especially in the 21st century where no-one, mining companies and governments, can claim ignorance of environmental sustainability issues.
The work on paper above Damned [and detail below] was painted a few years ago, but it still 'speaks'...even 'screams' to us today. The word 'damned' is repeated to appear like water in a holding facility, such as a dam or a pond. It could also be the bed of a river or creek. Obviously I am playing with the word dam!
To be damned is a serious thing - conjuring an array of different possibilities from the wrath of God to condemnation, anger, frustration and denouncement. And...if we pollute and contaminate our waterways we are damned in a way that potentially threatens our very existence!
Detail Damned Gouache on paper 21 x 30 cm 2011
The thought that human existence, along with plants and non-human animals, can be threatened by contaminated water may seem extreme, but we are all interconnected in such a way that even a small risk must be taken seriously.
The news report mentioned above is just one story, but there are many potential stories like it. Questions about 'value', normally referring to money, dominate debates. Who pays reparation, especially when a mine, or similar, goes into liquidation and there is no money left to maintain or fix? This is compounded when governments have requested inadequate financial assurances at planning or approval stages. While people wait for an answer it could rain and tip the water level in contaminated ponds into wider catchments with potentially devastating results. What is value and what is valued?
In my painting Risk [below and Detail underneath] I have painted strips of rain, water in a dam or creek/river bed, and underground aquifers in small blue $ signs. The word 'Risk' is also painted in small $ signs, but the colour red signals a warning, perhaps multiple warnings, about how we value money, water, life and existence.
Risk is not a condemnation of money as a symbol of exchange. Rather, it is a provocation to think about the many aspects of value.
And, there's a play with notions of currency! The currency of water as it ebbs and flows, a system of money in use in a country, being current - contemporary, implied momentum within a system such as political currency.
Maybe if we take risk seriously - currency in all its permutations will be re-negotiated, re-imagined even?
Risk Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2010 [Sold]
 Detail Risk Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2010 [Sold]
The two paintings above Damned and Risk are landscapes - loaded ones! Regular readers know of my love of landscape and my attempts to re-think what landscape is in the 21st century. I have my cosmic landscape which try to untether notions of landscape from Earth-bound horizons. I also have my Earth-based ones, such as the two above. Yet, the link is imaging the future...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Alternate Universe Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm paper size 3005
Alternate and Universe when coupled together bring to mind a couple of possibilities. There's the colloquial judgement made about someone who appears to not notice how their behaviour affects if they are living on another planet or in another universe! Then there's the theory of a multi-verse, where there's more than one universe, existing simultaneously or maybe consecutively...or in some other dimensionality yet to be discovered.
Alternate Universe [above] is ten years old...I painted it in 2005. Yes, my interest in the cosmos is not new. I was probably a bit more grounded ten years ago though! By this I mean, I had not clearly thought about untethering concepts of landscape from Earth-bound horizons, one of my current quests, both intellectual and creative.
The painting below Other Universes is a little more recent, but it has a similar far away, yet also a strangely close, feel. As in Alternate Universe the markings seem whimsically intimate on the one hand, yet suggestive of endless vastness at the same time.
Other Universes Gouache and watercolour on paper 15 x 21 cm paper size 2011
The two paintings below 'speak' about watching or observing. The first one suggests an observance of the Universe by others and the second painting suggests that the universe is undertaking the watching or observing. Yet, when you think about it, the universe is everything, so that any observation is witness to...well... everything, intimately and openly, inside and out, Earthlings and aliens...and more!
The two paintings below are more recent ie: 2013 and 2015 and reflect my ongoing interest in searching the universe for scapes of all kinds. The most obvious is landscape. I am interested in how we might re-think concepts of landscape in the cosmological21st century where exoplanets entice with possibilities for future human habitation, after we plunder the resources of our current planetary home. It is worth thinking about landscape, in the broadest sense, to explore humankind's relationship with something that keeps us 'grounded' [literally and metaphorically], emotionally, spiritually and physically. It may help us sustain Earth, at the same time as acting as a cautionary sensor for future explorations beyond Earth's horizon. And...that's where my quest to un-tether notions of landscape form earth-bound horizons comes from. By extending our landscape perspective into space it provides us with multiple vantage points to observe ourselves, our Earthly home, our Universal environment, time and space.
Watching The Universe Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2013
The Universe Watches Everything Gouache on paper 21 x 30 cm paper size 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015


Un-framing Landscape Crayon on paper [preliminary sketch]
As I mentioned in a previous recent post, I have returned to University study. I have embarked on an M. Phil [Research] at the University of Queensland. Happily, I can report that I am thoroughly enjoying being immersed in thinking and reading. I am also thrilled to be able to attend many of the fascinating talks and seminars that seem to happen every day at UQ. Yes, I am a bit of a geek...nerd...
Yesterday I attended an artists' talk, hosted by the University of Queensland Art Museum [UQAM], held in conjunction with a current exhibition Light Play: Ideas, Optics and Atmosphere , curated by Samantha Littley. The artists' talk included the curator as facilitator and artists Sam Cranstoun [multi-media artist] and photographers Carl Warner and Marian Drew. Dr. Margaret Wegener a lecturer in Physics at UQ was also part of the panel.
Many really interesting topics, relating to light and in reference to the artists' works, were discussed. However, my ears pricked up when there was a short discussion on how photographers and painters might frame a landscape. By frame, I mean compose or choose the image parameters with and wthin known elements. I cannot remember the details of the entire discussion, because my imagination went off into thoughts about how I un-frame landscape in my own work and how doing this unleashes it from earth-bound horizons.
When  I got back to my desk, after the artists' talk, I drew this sketch [above] Un-framing the Landscape. My plan is to sketch while I study and research. These sketches will lay the foundations for my next exhibition, which will probably be sometime in 2017.
As regular readers know, I think a lot about what landscape is, and means to us, in an age where cosmology traverses the close and far distances of the Universe, where astronomy seems to be regularly finding potential new Earth-like planets orbiting distant stars, where exploratory spacecraft take photographs of planets and moons, where virtual worlds proliferate, where humankind's presence leaves debris in space...and so on.
It Beckons Gouache on paper 15 x 21 cm 2015
Birth of Worlds Oil on linen 92 x 102 cm 2014
Given that I consciously attempt to untether ideas of landscape from Earth-bound horizons - to take landscape into the cosmos - I suggest that my un-framing is about extending parameters beyond the known, beyond safe horizons. In other words, the known can no longer act as a frame. Yet, extension beyond Earth's horizons does not necessarily mean there is a re-frame - after all the Universe is a big space/place where the unknown surpasses the known.
In my cosmic landscapes I try to re-negotiate landscape in a way that entices the viewer to think about what is beyond the literal edges of my canvases - to wonder. I also try to stir perception by playing with perspective and orientation - a kind of flipping of familiarity.
It's Everything Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm 2015
Here are a couple of other posts where I discuss landscape:

Friday, September 11, 2015


Home Gouache and watercolour on paper 38 x 42.5 cm
We can examine the word 'home' from a few perspectives....and regular readers know how much I like thinking about and with perspective!
Home can be the abode we live in. It can also be where we were born, which maybe in another city, town or country. Home can be where we feel most comfortable, and that does not have to be the physical place where we eat, sleep and so on. It can be where our parent/s live. We can feel 'at home' within ourselves, even if we are not in a physical place that we would normally call a home.
Home can also be planet Earth. After all, it has been 'home' to every human, past and present...but maybe not for future humans, except in nostalgic reminiscences! The concept of leaving or returning home, when it's Earth that's being left or returned to, certainly stretches perspective as well as the enormity of possible 'home-sickness'.
Where might future humans call 'home'? Well...the Mars One project certainly extends the idea of a future human home beyond Earth. It's still within our solar system, but poses many potentially catastrophic issues for those who might try to inhabit the planet. So, alternatives might be found in the increasing number of recently discovered Earth-like planets, orbiting in the Goldilocks zones of distant stars. These are called exoplanets ie: they are outside our solar system. For some people they offer great promise for possible alternative planetary homes for humans, and presumably selected animals, and possibly plants too. But, the latter would depend on the abundance of flora a new planetary home might offer, has been posited, some of these far-away planets might be even more abundant than Earth!
As philosopher Paul Virilio comments in his 2012 book 'The Great Accelerator' [p.17] these exoplanets entice with a kind of 'promised land' story. But, his sentiment is coupled with a critical condemnation or warning of the destructive forces that might cause, and witness, a mass exodus of humanity from Earth. Indeed, Earthly human history has many examples of mass exodus of people, caused be a need or an urgency to leave, that have resulted in major issues for everyone involved.
And, that brings me to current events where masses of people are fleeing war-torn countries in the Middle East, mainly Iraq and Syria. People are also fleeing unsafe environments in Africa and Asia. The moving mass of people around the globe, particularly into Europe, has accelerated in recent months due to heightened/sustained threats, as well as the northern hemisphere Summer, which makes it more conducive for travelling/fleeing on foot, by boat and camping out etc. Needless to say, despite Summer weather, the dangers of seeking refuge are still present, as clearly evidenced by dreadful happenings, such as deaths at sea and more. These people are fleeing from HOME...of country, house, family, heritage, culture. Their suffering on so many levels is beyond belief. I wonder if they can keep their internal 'homes' intact? I wonder...
Home Gouache and Watercolour on paper 2015
My new painting is another of my cosmic landscapes. Can you pick where 'home' might be? Yes, the beacon of the tree-of-life heralds to you! It could be Earth, or it could a future exoplanetary home? Or, it could be symbolic of 'home' as an amalgam of country, house, family, heritage and culture. It could be symbolic of that place within that provides spiritual and mental refuge, even if the physical world of 'home' is taken away.
Placed within a cosmic-like perspective, the small tree-beacon, might suggest that the Universe is our home. Yet, taking the universe, both as a literal place but also something 'other'...maybe in a yet-to-be-discovered other dimension...this painting may suggest the possibility of a 'home' we cannot yet imagine?
Selected posts about the idea of HOME
Greener Pastures  Here I 'play' with the stories of Goldilocks and The Three Bears, plus Billy Goats Gruff with reference to seeking new 'homes' on other planets.
New World Habitability. Vacation Anyone?  Here I discuss the possibility of exoplanet super abundance .
Questions - Three Paintings In this post I write about three works on paper that pose questions about humanity leaving Earth

Friday, September 04, 2015

Life Calling. Anyone There? Oil on linen 70 x 140 cm
Life Calling. Anyone There? is currently in the 2015 Tattersall's Landscape Art Award, here in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. This is an award devoted to landscape and attracts a $30,000 prize. You can see all the finalists on the slideshow on this link HERE 
Unlike a lot of art awards, this is an invitation competition. I am thrilled to have again been invited to participate.
The opening was a few nights ago...and what a fabulous opening it was too. The best thing was that so many of the artists were there. The winner of the award is well known Brisbane-born artist Noel McKenna . His winning entry Farm Scene is number 47 on the slide show mentioned above. And, congratulations to Noel.
The judges for the 2015 award were Tattersall's Club Committee Member, and former Club Chief Executive Officer, Michael Paramor, Curatorial Manager of Australian Art QAGoma, Jason Smith, Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia, Nick Mitzevick and Associate Professor of the Faculty of Education and Art at the Australian Catholic University, Lindsay Farrell. You can read more about the history of the prize HERE
The exhibition of entries will be on public view from September 7 - 18 at Waterfront Place, Brisbane. If you are in Brisbane, please pop in to see the paintings.
Life Calling. Anyone There? 
I entered Life Calling. Anyone There? because at about the time of choosing which painting to enter there was news about a Russian Billionaire, Yuri Milner, donating one hundred million dollars to listen for aliens. You can read about it here on Wired. I was interested that two observatories would be part of this very interesting project...and one of them is Australia's Parkes Telescope . The listening project is called Breakthrough Listen and the aim is to focus on listening for, rather than trying to communicate with, aliens [extra-terrestrial intelligence]. The data that is collected will be open source, so anyone can access it.
There's a whole other 'conversation' about the pros and cons of listening for and/or trying to communicate with aliens! That's another post.
So...I thought Life Calling. Anyone There? would be a very apt painting to enter the Tattersall's Landscape Art Award because when I painted it, I was thinking about the fascination we humans have with questions about aliens. As I wrote in my previous post about the painting the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence is a serious scientific pursuit. The SETI Institute in California must be a fascinating place to work! Of course the search for life does not necessarily begin and end with the search for intelligent life. There are many scientists undertaking research in signs of any kind of life, from microbes to more. There's even an area of research called astrobiology. Check out NASA's astrobiology site!
Life Calling. Anyone There? depicts two landscapes - one in the foreground and the planet. Yes, regular readers will identify that this painting is one of my attempts to untether notions of landscape from Earth-bound horizons. The idea that a whole planet is a landscape maybe unusual, but in many of my paintings I propose that the whole universe is a landscape. After is Earth's environment! This is becoming clearer as images from outer space, back towards Earth, place it within a universal perspective. The most famous photograph Pale Blue Dot, taken as Voyager 1 left the solar system in 1990, had a profound influence on how people viewed planet Earth. And, yes I am now going to direct you to the post I wrote for my own painting called Pale Blue Dot!
In Life Calling. Anyone There? two trees-of-life seem to call to each other, via the 'transmitter' of leaves. The viewer is unsure which way the 'conversation' is going. Who made contact first? Initially the viewer might assume that the landscape in the foreground is Earth...but it does not necessarily have to be! And, the planet...that's not necessarily Earth either. This ambiguity raises the possibility that beings on two other planets maybe communicating with each other!
There's also a metaphoric, rather than a speculative, reading of Life Calling. Anyone There? There are so many alienated souls on Earth calling for help and assistance, recognition, acknowledgement and more. Who is listening to them? Currently catastrophic geo-political events are causing unimaginable suffering to people fleeing from their homes, seeking refuge in other countries. Currently, the rates of suicide seem to be increasing. Currently, domestic violence causes weekly deaths of women and sometimes in Australia. The abyss-like divides that occur with opportunity, wealth, safety, compassion and care, are like the mammoth distances between two planets.
Seems to me that any alien who observed us Earthlings might not think we're enlightened or intelligent enough to bother communicating with!
So on that rather sombre note!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

It's Everything Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm

It's nearly the end of August and I suddenly realised that I was almost about to miss my Blog's 9th anniversary. I started this Blog in August 2006, never imagining that it would become such an intrinsic aspect of my work as an artist. Some un-imagined outcomes are:
  • The act of regularly writing has helped shape and sharpen my ideas.
  • The act of writing stirs new ideas too.
  • By posting once a week I have a kind of visual diary of my thoughts, paintings and influences.
  • Undertaking regular research about my influences and inspirations has broadened my ideas, but it has also been immensely intellectually satisfying.
  • Late last year I was invited by the State Library of Queensland to have my Blog archived in perpetuity on PANDORA, Australia's national archive of online sites of significance and ongoing research value. This was totally unexpected, but a delightful acknowledgement for me!
  • The ability to link posts etc to social media sites helps broaden my audience.
  • A dynamic Blog is also a wonderful way to easily promote my work to all kinds of people - buyers, curators, writers, galleries etc.
  • The regular writing has, I think anyway, helped improve my writing. This is a good [actually excellent!] thing because I am about to embark on a Research Higher Degree, a Master of Philosophy, at the University of Queensland, Australia. A thesis is a lot of writing!

One thing I never imagined in 2006, when I attended the artists' PR and Marketing seminar that set me on the blogging path, was that I would ever be invited to give a presentation on Blogging. BUT, this happened a couple of weeks ago! And, it went exceptionally well too. That early 2006 seminar was held at Metro Arts, Brisbane.

Here's a link to my Blog's 8th anniversary post. The most popular post in 2014 is still the most popular one in is Cosmic Ouroboros
Cosmic Ouroboros oil on linen 120 x 150 cm 2012
One thing that is new in the last year is that I am now on
Below is a screen shot of my INSTAGRAM profile/page
Please follow me!

And, here's another screen shot. It's of one of my other online presences - my website 'gallery' for CODE  - my 2015 solo exhibition

I have again been invited to participate in the
Tattersall's Landscape $30,000 Art Award
I am delivering the painting tomorrow.
Judging and opening is next week.
Below is a photo of my Tattersall's Art Prize entry all packed up and ready for delivery.
I've entered Life Calling Anyone There?


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

 On The Edge Gouache on paper 34.5 x 53.5 cm 2001

Last week I attended a very interesting and stimulating symposium in Melbourne, hosted by Deakin University. The title for the symposium was Unruly Techniques: Linking Knowledge Practices Through Art, Science and Technology.

Also, last weekend, I visited the National Gallery of Victoria's fabulous exhibition Masterpieces From The Hermitage: The Legacy Of Catherine The Great


On Sunday, here in Brisbane, I attended Neil deGrasse Tyson's amazing presentation where he discussed a range of cosmic, intellectual and social topics.
 Neil deGrasse Tyson event in Brisbane August 16 2015. Hosted by THINK INC

So, I had an array of stimulating experiences within a few days. Always a great thing! But, given my interests in art, science and technology, I come away from these experiences with some clearer thoughts and perspectives.

But, some background first.

Brisbane born [!] twin sisters Margaret Wertheim and Christine Wertheim both made keynote presentations at the Unruly Techniques symposium. Margaret has studied physics and mathematics and is a well known science writer. Christine is a writer, performer and artist who teaches at the California Institute For The Arts in LA. Christine's keynote Pata-Critics: The Art and Science Of Imaginary Solutions was fascinating and will be discussed in another post. Both women live in Los Angeles and are co-founders of the not-for-profit The Institute For Figuring .

Margaret and Christine Wertheim are also the instigators of a most wonderful project ie: The Crochet Coral Reef Project which the website describes as The Crochet Coral Reef is a woolly celebration of the intersection of higher geometry and feminine handicraft, and a testimony to the disappearing wonders of the marine world. It is one of the largest community arts/science projects in the world with around 8,000 people contributing I first heard of the project a number of years ago and was intrigued by its hyperbolic math inspiration, as well as the use of handicraft to explain/visualise a difficult concept. The project's intersection with hyperbolic maths is explained HERE. Subtexts include environmental issues as well as disruptive perceptions of a traditional feminine handicraft

Seeking Perspective Oil on linen 92 x 102 cm
I've uploaded this painting because many people who saw it at my recent exhibition CODE commented on it being like coral. This description if often given when my tree-of-life cascades across the painting.

Margaret Wertheim made some interesting statements and observations that are dear to my heart. I was thrilled that she clearly articulated them and to such an audience. Early in her presentation...remembering this is at a art, science and technology symposium... she quite forcefully stated that science does not need to have creativity added to it...because it is already intrinsically creative!

And, towards the end of her presentation she made a comment about the crochet hook being a piece of technology - a handicraft technology. She made a plea for the arts to not think of legitimate technology, for enabling creative expression, as only being the kind you plug in, a computer etc. She cleverly and humorously described our fingers as creating digitised work!

SO - Some thoughts-observations:

After listening to Neil deGrasse Tyson and thinking about all the other science events, books, Youtube videos etc I've read/watched/attended - something occurred to me. I actually think that science generally is currently much more exciting, innovative, flexible and creative than the arts [generally] currently are! I agree with Margaret Wertheim - science does not need to have creativity added, even bestowed, upon it by the arts or artists or anything else.

Indeed, maybe it's the arts that needs self-examination, to become more dynamic, reach beyond the tight boundaries of the market and go searching for its creative restore a kind of inspirational capacity that contemporary science is stirring.

The so-called art/science nexus, I believe is not about one being good for the other or appropriating aspects of the other, but more about each pursuit maintaining a confident integrity. Science, I suspect is more confident than the arts, which in some areas seems to be needy of science's approval. If there's to be cross inspiration I suggest it comes from a confidence that exudes, not only academic and intellectual rigour, but also playfulness....and all that it encompasses.

DeGrasse Tyson made a comment that struck me as significant. He said that by being a scientist he could stay a child ie: keep the wonder, play with ideas, imagine the seemingly impossible, have fun. I don't detect a lot of fun in the arts, particularly the visual arts, these days! Perhaps the arts, somehow, disallows the inner child, quelling the kind playfulness that pushes boundaries at the same time as inspiring. Maybe artists need to also feel happy to declare, I love being an artist because it means I can hold onto and love my inner child?

[Christine Wertheim's Unruly Techniques symposium presentation on pataphysics - the fictional in science as distinct from science fiction - gave clues for art']
Tree-of-Life Time Travelling Oil on linen 85 x 150 cm

The Neil deGrasse Tyson Brisbane event attracted 2,500 people. He received a standing ovation from the entire audience. The rise of the intelligent-geek-science-'celebrity' is refreshing and illustrates the public's desire to be informed and inspired. People like deGrasse Tyson will help spread scientific literacy, thus leading to increasing public understanding, and informed critique, of 21st century issues. Politicians, policy makers and educators...take note!

Here's me at the Neil Degrasse Tyson even in Brisbane. I got there early - keen!
Margaret Wertheim's comment about the crochet hook being a technological tool, is exactly how I have thought about the paint brush and paint. They are technologies - yes, old and traditional - but given they have been around, in some form or another, for 40,000 years I suggest there must be something about brush and paint that is important ...something about us being human. New technologies offer amazing possibilities for everyone including scientists and artists, but they belong to a pantheon of tools that include seemingly simple ones too.

A full and diverse tool-kit reflects sophistication...don't you think? Indeed, it's much more fun if you have lots of things to play with!

And, now to...

The Masterpieces From The Hermitage exhibition. This exhibition illustrates Catherine The Great's dexterous ability to govern, learn and see the potential in cultural activity, expression and acquisition. The art in the exhibition provides many examples of visual language, that an audience of the time could decipher to gain meaning and knowledge, both explicit and implied.
 A didactic that gives some idea of Catherine The Great's expansive thinking - from the NGV's Masterpieces From The Hermitage exhibition