|90 × 90 × 5 cm
Salvaged paint and phosphorescent paint on canvas.
The Great Cycle, 2023*
Using recovered emulsion paints, and drawing upon compositional elements including sacred geometry and the harmonic armature, this piece is intended to remind us of the cosmological principles that unite us with the universe. Although we were once all part of a terrible and glorious exploding star, our physical (atomic) and mental (energetic) transformations are always reconfiguring.
What we interpret as rust and decay is simply the impact of time and energy reconfiguring the combinations of atoms that constitute our physical reality. One day we will be part of another one of the brightest lights in the heavens again – visible across the cosmos for aeons. Our matter has been here forever, and will be here forever, in one format or another. In this way we are all eternal and immortal.
Created almost exclusively from paints reclaimed from municipal waste disposal sites, and thus diverting them from landfill or fume generating incineration, this piece intends to encourage us to recognise the inherent potential in all things, as well as our intrinsic relationship to the rest of the planet.
The primary image can be interpreted as a diagrammatic reference to our green planet and its atmosphere. The choice of greens refers to the critical role played by the surface dwelling and aquatic plants, which absorb CO2 and convert it into oxygen we need to breathe. Plants are one of the only viable methods to combat climate change. It is vital that we rethink our relationships with them if life as we know it is to survive on this planet.
The title refers to many cyclical processes necessary for life – not just the carbon cycle. Even if we do not survive our climate event, it will not be the first apocalyptic mass-extinction the Earth has experienced. There have been many, and each time, life has re-emerged from the reset.
Another cycle this piece can be interpreted to refer to, is the cycle of life. Approximately 89% of the atoms that compose our bodies are exchanged with our environments every year. In other words, not only do our surroundings have a similar, mutual influence on us through our bodies and senses, but our surroundings are actually composed of our past and future selves. What we do to our environment we do to ourselves.
The hidden image is derived from Gustav Courbet’s L’Origin du monde (The origin of the world) of 1866. It can be interpreted as a reference to our intrinsically intimate relationship with ‘mother earth’ or Gaia, from whose belly we metaphorically all come, as well as the continual cycles of creation and reconfiguration driven by attraction and repulsion – two sides of the same coin.