Oil on linen
122cm H x 152cm W
Framed in charcoal
Says Susie of this work: “Many people have asked me what the flecks in this work are… Embers from fire? Energy of the landscape? Confetti? Yes to all. The flecks are the unexplained magic we experience in everyday happenings. Call it instinct, intuition, kismet, serendipity or just the ‘force’. As in ‘the force is with you’ (Star Wars).
I have named this painting ‘Ode to Vincent’. Van Gogh’s legacy for landscape artists in the western tradition is due to his intimate vision of this force. Vincent felt the landscape as a vibrating, living thing of which he was part. A man before (and after) his time. Had he born to an indigenous cultural understanding of these ideas he would not have felt at such odds with the world. And if he were born today – his ideas would form the vanguard of a new understanding of being-in-the-world.
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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