A song to give us warmth 2010

Zillij
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Installation of 23 paintings (1m 54cm x 2m 74cm)

The starting point was a collage of selected images, which was painted over. Fragments of this collage were zoomed into, magnified and interpreted into 23 paintings, each the shape of an 8-point star. When they are arranged together the spaces between them form 4-point stars or crosses. Together these shapes form a pattern called ‘zillij’, which has many ancient origins including Pythagorean maths. The geometry of this pattern is said to allow the brain to wander, to elicit meditation. It is a cosmological model showing the interplay of polarities; the cycles of creation and destruction.

The images are mostly of strange, devastated landscapes which have a peculiar beauty and they recur in different forms. There are many recurring images and they are often ambiguous: aeroplanes which are transporters of war or metaphors for the quest for transcendence; crosses are symbols of death or of spirituality; water implies cleansing and rebirth but also flooding and destruction. An old cracked mirror suggests reflection- the act of thinking but also distortion. Words can be instructive or illegible and misleading. We see part of the lettering from a Singer sewing machine that reads “SING”. There are bits of lettering in red from the “TIME” of the magazine. Time (and timelessness) is a theme that is repeated in these paintings, referring to the notion, both terrifying and absurd, that we are trapped in an endless cycle of history repeating itself. Friedrich Nietzsche’s theory of ‘eternal return’ has its roots in ancient philosophies including Egyptian, Indian and the Pythagoreans.

The 8-point star is constructed of 2 squares. They represent 2 worlds overlapping in a combination of grids at different angles. Within each painting the images are further fractured and spliced together, showing another fragmented zillij.

Fragmented Earth
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Fragmented Earth l, ll and lll

The images represented in these paintings have been cut, torn, folded and reconfigured. It makes visible the continual creative process of analysing and recomposing in the attempt to construct meaning.

The images represent cycles and transformations, from the very small one day life-events to vast planetary phases of time. Through this juxtaposition, the connections that exist between time-frames are drawn.