I could tell you about the shimmer in the work, the technical approaches, the how and why of the light in the work, but I am not going to. It has been told. It has been written. Rather...
After my first visit to Italy I told a friend that it was like breathing for the first time, Breathing with my Eyes. I recently realized that this is what I do all the time. Often, in so many circumstances - new countries, new experiences, new lives - the breath is held and my eyes breathe for me.
After the initial excitement of new experiences during my first year in the U.S., everything seemed veiled: my former life in Australia, my new life in the U.S., myself, humanity, reality, truth. I knew only a few very simple things: "reality" is gossamer that if only we can push it gently aside we find that the gossamer skin is an unreality; there is something shared between the gossamer veil of skin and mind: one is the material projection of the other, the shadow mind, and tears in the fabric of one allow us to see through the barrier of the other. Breathing with my eyes, I went into the studio and began making totally new images. The technical ambitions and metaphysical optimism of earlier Australian pieces on organza fell away while the simpler Veil series was exhaled by my eyes, eyes so connected to a deeper pulse that they seem to by-pass the brain, going straight to a secret chamber in my head.
Then while I was home in Australia last year I absorbed old-new referrants. We drove through bush fires along the coast, immediately after seeing and being in our Australian blue ocean. I walked down to the sea often and drove past it everyday, Breathing Blue ... The world ceases to exist in Australia, and I float into the timeless and unrecognized. I have missed the fires, the light, the ocean... our ocean, all around our land. Last December I went over to Magnetic Island and the water all around was fabulously blue. For over twenty years I have not seen it that intense, enveloping, unapproachably beautiful - alternately unfathomable then translucent, alternately twinkly opaque then lucid and shimmering. With every glimpse or gaze, I paused, even if driving, and especially if walking and breathed deeply, breathing blue, and felt restored. The experience was repeated several times during that visit, flying up and down the Queensland coast, walking all over Rottnest Island in Western Australia, sensing how the earth breathes the jade "blue" of the water along the edge of the Pinnacles Desert . The blues I saw re-mind me of references in spiritual literature to blue centres, blue regions, blue planes, blue realms, all of inner transports. Yet, the ocean blues are located in my physical breath. The colour is a tantalizing hint of ephemeral spirit blues that speak of evolution often as searing to the mortal frame and mind as the crucible's flame.
The ocean blues seen and breathed at home were embedded in my seeing heart as well as my breathing eyes. When I got back to my U.S. studio, I picked up where I had left off on the Rip series. Charting a method completely unlike my meticulous optical mixtures and calligraphic brush work, these unfettered pieces broadside the American fixation on the Ab. Ex. boys (you would think American art began and ended with Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art - in a strange way, I think it did) and simultaneously launched me free of the organza pieces, calligraphy, and Asian references that had populated my work for the past decade. For months before visiting home, I had been waking up with Rip "pictures in my head" even while finishing an extended series of calligraphic works. These earlier Rip pieces had corraled me into a different section of the studio and flashed into being not long before we visited home - Drift, Mantle, Breath. Breath, breathing... When sea creatures and ocean references began appearing in the new post-Australia Rip pieces, I was ready for the blue and what followed. Tempered inside the crucible of the veil - the crucible of human existence, cloaked in breathing blues, I catalogue the experience of the panopoly - black and white auto-conscious creatures of the act of un-writing, alongside pulsing allegorical red, alongside breathing blue ... letting my eyes breathe for me.
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