Wednesday, June 27, 2018

How Little We Know

We make sense of the world by forming ideas and theories. In our minds, we carry models of how things work and what things mean. But, the nature of model-making requires that we reduce some of the detail; that we simplify the complicated parts.

The danger is that we forget that we've built a model and that we act as though the world actually is our over-simplified, model version.


These water and cloud pieces are a meditation on the limitation of our understanding of even  rudimentary things. The surface of water: how simple!  In our mind's eye, we know exactly what that looks like. But the geometry is actually very complicated. There are undulating patterns that never actually repeat. Smaller and larger scales are superimposed over each other. Wave geometry is extremely intricate, even in a still image. Moving water waves in the real world are, to our minds, incomprehensible. We can look at waves, but we cannot fully 'see' them!

These artworks draw you in with the colour and 'natural beauty' of traditional landscapes.  As you look closer you discover the graphic elements of outlines, tracings and other geometry. Reminiscent of contour maps and weather charts, these diagrams are attempts to document, regulate and explain the natural world - the process of model-making.  Rather than clarify the natural patterns however, the analytic diagrams only emphasis their complexity.

Sounding Line

In this age of glib thought and fast opinion; of simple answers to complex questions, it is important to question our tacit assumptions. In a gentle way, I think these pieces can inspire us to notice that the models that we necessarily use to make sense of the world are incomplete and contingent.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Brief History


The early people came up with systems:

  • Sounds could refer to ideas.
  • Shapes could refer to sounds. 
  • Things could be counted. 
  • Lines could be used to measure and divide the earth. 

When more people came to think in this systematic way, things had to change. Maps were drawn to reflect the earth and then the earth was changed to match up with the lines that were drawn on the maps.

Piano Music

Friday, June 15, 2018


This ocean has no end. It is bottomless. It stretches to infinite depth, pressure and darkness.


And yet, here we are. Floating on the surface.

Negative Time

My watch measures time in a positive way: the minutes and hours are always increasing.  But I am counting backwards: how long until I have to do this? how long until that will happen?

Negative Time

How long will it last?  How long do I have?

Negative Time - detail

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Right Angle

If you come across rectangles, you've found signs of human activity. 


The fundamental essence of farming, cities and buildings throughout time has been the right angle.  A rectangle is the simplest abstraction of human impact on the world.

Malta - detail

What does water look like?

I thought I knew what water looked like, but then I tried to paint it.

There are so many waves and they're moving so fast.  The shapes are really complicated and it's hard to make out the patterns.

So as artists do, I looked to other art for clues.  It seems that no one got it right until photography was fully invented.  We had to 'stop the world' before we could depict it.

The complexity of waves goes beyond geometry, it is also time-based.  I've tried to follow just one wave as it moves through the others. I can't do it for long. I can look at water, but still not truly 'see' it.

Sunday, June 3, 2018


The brain is not like a computer. 

There is no unused disk space for your future memories. 
The brain is always full.  For a new memory to form, an old one must be forgotten. 
You never know which memory was sacrificed because that's the nature of forgetting. 

'Liquid' - 2018 

Are cities like human memories? 
There's not enough room for all the buildings, so if we need a new one, we have to knock down an old one. 
Every time you go by a new building, your awareness of it gets stronger and your memory of what was there before gets weaker.

'Things Forgotten' - 2018

If you want to remember the way something used to be, you must never go there now.