Oil on linen
35cm H x 40cm W
Framed in charcoal
Says Susie of this work: “The starting point for these works was the work of Australian painter, Clarice Beckett (1887-1935).
Beckett’s compositions have always fascinated me – they are not obvious and often the viewer has to work to make sense of a scene. In this moment of working for comprehension one is drawn into a world that is defined by sensations of light and colour.
Her works are intriguing and for me, the experience is akin to the experience of nature at dawn, dusk, in storms or fog, when the world is slightly altered and you are required to re-orientate by defining the strange in relation to the familiar.
These works titled ‘Carry You’ and ‘Remember’ are about the particular (and sometimes disorientating) force that is LOVE. Love as a concept carries within it a definition of strength and resilience together with gentle tenderness and a letting-go. I see these apparently opposing qualities working in harmony through Becketts work too.
A long-standing curiosity about the interchange between human consciousness and the natural world underpins this series of paintings. When I paint, as when I am close to nature, I am aware of a sense of mystery and recognition occurring in unison – it feels like an ancient legacy that is deeply rooted in my body revealing itself one mark at a time.
The Romantic painters form a major influence upon my work as they engaged with similar ideas regarding the entanglement of human sensation with nature in the early 19th century. There are complex understandings of this in indigenous knowledge systems and similar enquiries at the intersections of science, religion and culture in every age. It is not a new enquiry but it is an urgent one now that the topic of ‘human extinction’ has entered contemporary discussion.
I have named this body of work, The Overview Effect. The term, coined by writer, Frank White, outlines the experience of cosmic connection described by many astronauts viewing earth from space. They each speak of, ‘truly transformative experiences including senses of wonder and awe, unity with nature, transcendence, and universal [kinship]’ which results in a (not previously held) feeling of responsibility for all living things. This profound shift in consciousness is so uncannily similar that scientists have wondered whether zero-gravity is responsible for new connections (or re-connections) in the brain.
My paintings have been described as more like biographies than depictions of places and this resonates with me. If we can begin to truly understand how we are related to the oceans and clouds perhaps we can make the meaningful shift in consciousness which will characterise the next phase in human evolution.”
Signed on the back.
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