Friday, June 30, 2017

AS I FLEW PAST EARTH, I NOTICED EVIDENCE OF DRONES

As I Flew Past Earth, I Noticed Evidence of Drones, Gouache on paper 76 x 56 cm, 2017



In As I Flew Past Earth, I Noticed Evidence of Drones I have imagined being in a spacecraft, or being a speck of star dust, or being some kind of super force flying around the universe. As I pass by planet Earth I notice evidence of drones, their surveillance and targeting signals. How many drones - I cannot tell. 

I also notice signs of life, human and non-human - fragmented, turned upside down, hidden. However, there are also signs of defiance, regeneration, hope.


AERIAL PERSPECTIVE
Regular readers will observe that in this new painting I've taken an aerial perspective, yet again. Indeed, this perspective is evident in most of my work. I like to fly! I also like to think I can take the viewer with me, way beyond Earth, but also perhaps right up close, even inside its crust. This kind of imaginative flying could be a really significant capability in the 'drone age'. As airborne drones loiter in skies, hovering above terrain, scoping with their various surveillance capabilities, our horizons are netted with signals and vertically delivered potential threats. 

PANOPTICON
The airborne drone channels ideas of a panopticon with an intent to observe without being seen. Eighteenth century social theorist Jeremy Bentham proposed a panopticon as an institution designed for inmates, where a single guard could observe prisoners without being seen. That the guard could not be seen meant that prisoners were never sure if someone was observing or how many might be observing. Are we and other living creatures 'inmates' on a planet increasingly surveilled by drones? Should we also think about how satellite infrastructure, currently conscripted to aid communication and environmental awareness for drone operation, is utilised for surveillance and other potentially more lethal purposes? I claim we need to fly beyond our droned skies and beyond orbiting communication and GPS satellites,ie:  way beyond low Earth orbit, geostationary orbit and high Earth orbit, to get some perspective! 

So, if we can 'fly' around the drone and space-based enabling infrastructure then maybe we can subvert the power drone capabilities insidiously deploy. We can, with imagination, turn ourselves into observers with truly full spectrum temporal and spatial agency. 

The trees-of-life in As I Flew Past Earth, I Noticed Evidence of Drones are showing us how - don't you think?

Cheers,
Kathryn  



Thursday, June 22, 2017

THE LEAVES ARE LEAVING

The Leaves Are Leaving gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017


THE WORLD
As masses of people flee their homes, due to war, conflict, drought, famine, poverty and suppression of many kinds, what does it mean for the soul of humanity? Displaced people flee homes in one country to seek refuge in another, some leave homes to live a homeless life in their own countries, and others never find new homes except in camps and settlements for displaced people. Others, die trying to find a new path. 

As the world runs amok people retreat to extreme beliefs, setting up polarisations that neuter balanced political traction, social cohesion and cultural understanding. Retreat to extremes represents another kind of exodus. A kind of exodus that seems to make things worse.

THE LEAVES ARE LEAVING
In the Leaves Are Leaving a mass of people are on the move, their silhouettes atop a hilly horizon. All the people are red. A flame-like swathe of red leaves shoots upwards into a turbulent sky which is dotted with groupings of red dots. I've deliberately painted the people, the leaves and the dots red - because they all represent the same thing - life. 

Regular readers will know that the leaves are from the tree-of-life, a recurrent theme in much of my work. Here, the tree is not portrayed. It has relinquished its leaves, sending them to seek refuge and safety in realms beyond. 

SUN/DRONE AND DUAL USE
The colourful radiating rays peeping through the stormy clouds could be a sun, but regular readers will realise that they could also be the surveillance and targeting signals of an obscured drone. These rays are symbolic of the insidious infiltration of militarised style surveillance that pervades our physical and online lives. That the rays could be a sun or a drone's surveillance signals demonstrates the increasingly blurred lines between civilian and military use of digital and cyber infrastructures and systems. Two days ago I watched a new short documentary produced by Dr. Ian Shaw. The film is called Remote: A Documentary About Drones and Humans and it demonstrates very clearly how militarised surveillance, under the guise of policing and security, has seeped into our everyday lives. Do watch the film!

Cheers,
Kathryn



Friday, June 16, 2017

CAN THE LEAVES STILL DANCE?

Can The leaves Still Dance? gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017

A STORY
When my eldest child was about two and a half we were sitting on our verandah which looked over a creek. This S. E Queensland [Australia] rural setting was complete with grassy fields, cattle grazing and gum trees lining the creek banks. A faint breeze was stirring. My toddler turned to me and said "Look Mummy the leaves are dancing". The leaves were rustling in the breeze and the sharp eyes of a two year old noticed. I will never forget this moment for a number of reasons.

I was thinking about dancing leaves when I painted Can The leaves Still Dance? 

21st CENTURY
In an age where environmental issues plague us and droughts cause mass migrations of people, even if trees have leaves - would people notice them dancing in a breeze? In an age where we are glued to our digital devices, do we look up and around to notice leaves dancing in a breeze? In an age where cities are congested, as we traverse busy streets, sip coffee in trendy cafes and work in interior designed offices do we notice any trees, let alone their dancing leaves? 

In the 21st century, the age of simulation, drones, surveillance and monitoring can we still appreciate leaves dancing as a breeze rustles through a tree's branches? What if we took 'dancing leaves' and a 'breeze' as co-metaphors for life transmitted symbolically in the age-old transcultural/religious tree-of-life? In  Can The leaves Still Dance? I've included references to many trees - trees-of-life - some upright and some upside down. One tree acts as the figures' shadow. It is a shared shadow, the shadow of all humanity - past, present and future. There are 'rivers' of leaves too. Are they fallen leaves now dancing to another life tune? Or, maybe they are escaping? In the background radiating lines appear sun-like. But, could they be the surveillance and targeting signals of a hovering drone?

I'm sure you have stories to tell, thoughts to entertain, memories to remember and dreams to dream - so I'll leave you to think some more about Can The Leaves Still Dance? 

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This is another of my cosmic landscapes. Also, a dronescape. Interesting, though, that country Queensland is still there - launched to other realms of the universe!

Cheers,
Kathryn.
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Thursday, June 08, 2017

SPACE NET

Space Net Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017



Space Net is related to another recent painting Code Empire  where I have painted Earth [or another planet?] and its moon with strings of binary code. I have not used binary code in Space Net but I was thinking about signals emanating from Earth into space - and signals emanating from space to Earth. 

AERIALS IN SPACE
In Space Net the circle could be Earth, but it could also be another planet, or it could be the centre of a space ship! The triangulated prongs could be signals or some other kind of technical infrastructure, physical or digital, that enables communication, orientation and surveillance. I painted them to look like the huge aerials my father had built beside our house on our grain farm in the middle of the Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia. These aerials facilitated reception and transmission for my father's HAM radio communication signals. In a sense I've uprooted them and sent them into space! Here in Space Net they represent structure, even if it is unseen; the kind of digital and cyber structures that net our skies, that net the space between Earth and satellites orbiting Earth, and in some cases extending beyond. An example of the latter is Voyager 1, now travelling in interstellar space. It still sends signals that NASA can receive. That's actually quite amazing! Something human beings made is now beyond our solar system...

Space Net conjures a few thoughts - if the circle in Earth, something or someone has us covered! The planet is completely connected and surveilled, cloaked in a net of signals that create unseen avenues for power and control, but by who or what? Has the planet been colonised by the forces of the algorithm, the originators lost in time? Or, is this image a spaceship carrying humanity to its next planetary home? If so, is humanity continuing its urge to colonise or is it escaping an unsustainable Earth? 

AIRBORNE MILITARISED DRONES
As regular readers know, over the last 18 months or so, the figure of the militarised airborne drone has entered my paintings. If I don't depict the actual drone, I paint its signals, to expose their presence, to aestheticise them in ways that draw attention to them. These painted 'signals' are symbolic of the increasing persistence of monitoring, surveillance and scoping of life by remotely operated and increasingly autonomous systems. Space Net can also be read as one of my dronescapes, where drones circle the Earth casting surveillance and ever-ready targeting 'nets' across the planet.


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NET - SURVEILLANCE is an earlier post with 2 paintings where I have exposed a drone's signals.

DRONESCAPES     Please check out my designated DRONESCAPES page. 

Cheers,
Kathryn

Thursday, June 01, 2017

COSMIC FIRE - Online Exhibition


 HOT Gouache on paper  56 x 76 cm 2017 


COSMIC FIRE is an online exhibition of a selection of my paintings that refer, either directly or indirectly, to fire. Not any old kind of fire though, and not necessarily real fires. I am thinking about cosmic fire, the kind that precipitates or represents the birth or death of solar systems, the kind that erupts when landscapes change, when volcanoes spill forth a planet's buried entrails. Or, fire as a symbolic warning that human activities can have catastrophic outcomes.

Do we want to stir the dark chasms?

I have selected a few recent works on paper and placed some of them with older paintings. I've done this to demonstrate how some themes continue in an artist's practice, albeit often not in direct ways.

INFLUENCES
Recent paintings have been influenced by my research into militarised technology. Older work that was influenced by my interest in cosmology resonate with my recent cosmic landscapes - often harbouring loitering airborne weaponised drones The tree-of-life is a common element in many of the paintings. It streams hope. Ultimately, my interest in cosmology has extended an interest in another theme, that of perspective, both literal and metaphoric. My influences are woven through my paintings and over time a fabric of images has emerged.


PRICES
If you are interested in buying please contact me through the "Contact Form" upper right of this post.

And, if you are interested in my dronescapes please visit DRONESCAPES


DARK CHASMS


Stirring the Dark Chasm Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017


Perpetual Beginning Oil on linen 80 x 120 cm 2011


Firmament Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm [51 x 62 cm framed] 2011


ANTHROPOCENE


 Anthropocene Gouache and watercolour on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017. 


 Cosmic Testimony Gouache and watercolour on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017


Planet $ Oil on linen 30 x 30 cm 2011


BIRTH AND DEATH OF WORLDS


 Star Blood Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017


Greener Pastures Oil on linen 50 x 50 cm 2014


Birth of Landscape oil on linen 138 x 168 cm 2014

FIRE AND FLOOD 


                            Fire and Flood: Extremus Gouache on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017 NFS


Storm Oil on linen 85 x 150 cm 2012


SECRETS

I've 'curated' Secrets as the last painting because, whilst not directly referencing fire, it contains some hopeful ideas - but it depends on how you read it.


Secrets Gouache and watercolour on paper 56 x 76 cm 2017


Cheers,
Kathryn