Installation views



Brenda May Gallery, Waterloo, Sydney NSW, Australia - May/June 2012


ex nihilo

Stainless steel
2012 (37h x 112 x 93cm)


novus ordo

Stainless steel
2012 (64h x 145 x 59cm)


tempus edax

Stainless steel
2012 (81h x 99 x 57cm)


dei gratia

Stainless steel
2012 (102h x 117 x 91cm)


deus est

Stainless steel
2012 (124h x 106 x 75cm)


ex nihilo ('out of nothing') / novus ordo ('new order') / tempus edax ('time devours') / dei gratia ('by the grace of god') / deus est ('god is') pursue that moment between balance and flight where the precise distribution of mass, form and space activate the sculpture – a creative engineering that aims to imbue a potency of energy, of lightness, of straining to reach the heavens (as in deus est), or alternatively of compression, of a crushing weight (ex nihilo).

The creatures inhabiting seas, rivers and lakes are the inspiration for this dynamic abstract exploration of nature and the laws of physics and biology – an exploration of resistance to the crushing weight of the deep ocean vs the lightness of soaring flight in the open sea.

Metaphorically, they are the product of the chimaeric fusion of deep-sea crawling/swimming/burrowing animals with corraline tube-polyps, Tubipora musica, the tiny organisms of which grow in 'organ pipe'-like tubes. As these genetic hybrids grow, mutate and migrate from the dark, cold, energy-poor, compacted ocean depths towards the surface of the sea with its light and warmth, they adapt to live in this increasingly bright and energy-rich environment.

The tube-polyp colours of blue / green / yellow / red / orange link the pieces to the five classical elements common to philosophical-theological and early scientific theories. From the ancient Babylonian and classical Greek civilisations, through Japanese Buddhism, Tibetan Bön philosophy, Medieval alchemy, Renaissance natural philosophy and even to the early Enlightenment:-

Water / blue – a metaphor for the fluid, formless, flowing things of the world

Earth / green – hard, solid, resistant things

Wind or Air / yellow – of things that grow, expand and enjoy freedom of movement

Fire / red – of energetic, forceful things

Void, Space or the æther / orange – which fills the region of the universe beyond the terrestrial sphere: i.e. those things beyond our everyday experience.

Intriguingly, the link between the five classical elements and science continues to this day. In contemporary physics, earth, water, wind, fire, and the æther, are analogous to the five states of nature – solid, liquid, gas, plasma, and what's known as the Bose-Einstein condensate, a physical form of matter composed of bosons which exists when gas atoms cool to temperatures very near absolute zero (minus 273 degrees Celsius), as in Space between the stars. The Bose-Einstein condensate is as hard to comprehend as Plato's æther was when he proposed it in the fourth century BC.


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