Painter Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox in her artistic endeavours is inspired by Cosmology; not only just its study as part of the evolution of our universe, but also for the philosophical ideas and intellectual ideas it stimulates as well as the important questions it urges her to ask. She is seeking her answers through art.
Kathryn says, “Earth may be our home, but the universe is our environment. Humankind’s sense of identity is currently being provoked, prodded and questioned, but I am not too sure how many people have noticed!“
Brisbane based, Kathryn believes humans have a unique opportunity; one no other living creature on earth has at their disposal. We are able to reflect on the events that have taken place over the centuries through observation of the world around us, particularly its landscape. Reading that landscape may seem difficult to many, impossible to some, while easy for yet others. Whatever way you approach it, it is not only about looking but also about seeing.
Kathryn believes ‘life and landscape are entwined’ and in her next exhibition at the Graydon Gallery at New Farm in Brisbane will explore ideas with oil on linen ,as her life ‘takes on a cosmic perspective’.
‘Untethered Landscapes’ is on show at the Graydon Gallery 2 – 14th September, highlighting Kathryn’s interest in symbolism dating from the dawn of time, especially on how it impacts on our psyches in the contemporary age.
Kathryn wants us to look at our landscape with new eyes, she wants us to ‘…look up from our iPhones and computer screens to absorb the ‘landscape’ of new horizons and perspectives offered by cosmology.
She believes our very ‘survival, our consciousness and our physicality, demands it’
What a landscape looks like in formation often completely belies what lies at the heart of that formation.
It does not instantly reveal how human habitation has impacted upon its material makeup over the millennia.
We need look to look way beyond the surface of what the mind usually sees to discover how it tells a story of the significant changes we all need to make if we are to remain living on the earth for a long time to come.
A marker of difference between humankind and for instance robotic technology, which many believe will take over many tasks we ourselves perform today, is an ability to imagine a landscape realistically.
Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox finds it hard ‘to imagine a robot depicting landscape in abstract, symbolic or expressive form’.How would we program it to complete the task?
What parameters would we have to program into its memory in order for it to plug into the great ability we all have, whether it is developed or not; creativity? She asks.
Undoubtedly creativity is a unique ability humans possess in abundance. Some people’s instincts for it are more acutely developed than others.
Yet others never really try to use it well, if at all.
Creativity it is not just about art. It is an important concept of all life in the 21st century in our world.
It is at the very core of human success, supporting innovation, expanding knowledge and contributing to life in society in our own world and beyond.
Without those people to ‘imagine’ the world and then go out and create it we would not have reached the point that we have, or this far in the evolution of our society and culture.
Now we need to visualize way beyond the vast realms and regions of the universe we currently know, seeking the one we will need to know and understand if we are to secure the future of humankind.
Kathryn uses all sorts of analogies when making her investigations on canvas. She explores new perspectives so that we will encounter the world and our universal environment differently.
Looking in rear vision mirrors is one device she uses as an analogy to explore what’s happening outside of the windows.
She quotes Top Gear car specialist Jeremy Clarkson who when providing a review of the 1999 BMW wagon wrote…“Yes, it wasn’t equipped with other modern features such as parking sensors, but I solved that when maneuvering by simply looking out the windows”.
It begs the question when did you last look out the windows of your car and see much more than the road?
It was certainly a thought-provoking game that I played with my own children when they were growing up to keep them occupied on long journeys.
It wasn’t about controlling behaviour but about stimulating their observation skills,
Some people have natural observation skills in abundance, while yet others need them to be developed if they are to fulfill their potential.
Today as cars become more and more computerized we will, and perhaps we already are, lose skills vital to our cognitive functioning, a bit like a baby who is not allowed to develop its motor skills to prepare for the decision making aspects of its life to come.
How will we be able to use our mental processes to perceive, judge, reason, assess or understand what our emotional or volitional responses should be?
Our ability to choose especially would be enormously affected, and as making choices is the single most important component of everyday life, it would end, as we know it.
The scariest thing is to try and understand what will replace us if we are not using our brains actively, at least in terms of observation. So many people already do not see what is right before their eyes.
Even now we are being urged to take up crosswords and computer games on a daily basis to assist our brains as we age, but what will happen if robots replace most of the motor skill tasks we currently do?
Are we condemning ourselves to even lonelier existences camped out in front of screens living more and more of our lives in the world of unreality, which will instead become our own reality? And we can surely understand how totally disastrous that would be.
If we choose not to be active, out and about and integral to the natural earth, which gave us birth, what are the consequences?
It’s a valid question.
Kathryn believes, and I concur, that if we don’t look out the windows or look into the rear vision mirror we might just miss the light and remain permanently caught up in the shadows of life and art.
To find our 21st century identity on earth we need to untether our ideas and take flight, allowing our imagination to stimulate innovative new ways of dealing with the challenges ahead. It is what she is endeavouring to do with her landscape paintings.
Kathryn Brimblecombe-Fox observes that if we are not already taking such a journey then perhaps the one we need to take is a spiritual one, which is destined to reveal a place within us all where peace, harmony and oneness with the earth finally take over.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014