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...continued

The strange attraction of beauty
and impermanence

This was my Derelict series. [SDk: See images from this series of work in Ros Paton’s profile gallery in the SomethingDark Contributor Directory.]

Haiku

My next series of small works will explore the balance (if there is one) between the process of life or nature as growth versus the idea of decay and entropy. I am hoping to capture the essence of wabi-sabi in a true form.

I intend to focus on the beauty of the small, the humble and the overlooked through close-ups of scenes normally missed as we pass by in the forward motion of our lives. I will look at the weeds that seem to be able to grow in a speck of soil in a cracked cement wall, flowers run away from a garden growing by the roadside, and again the birds that inhabit the city.

Once I have painted a few of them and entered more deeply into the concept I will be able to determine if I am looking to find an essence of “hope”, or perhaps again defining the inevitable cycle of growth and decay in its various transient forms.

As is now part of my practice I do not wish to “tell all”, and would like to use economy of image and understatement to paint a multi-tiered concept – just like the poetic construct of Haiku. According to Matsuo Basho (1644–94), “The haiku that reveals seventy to eighty percent of its subject is good. Those that reveal fifty to sixty percent, we never tire of”.13 SDk

 

Notes

13 Kenneth Yasuda, “‘Approach to haiku’ and ‘Basic principals’”, in Nancy G. Hume (ed.), Japanese Aesthetics and Culture: A Reader, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995, p. 128. Matsuo Basho was a haiku master and the most famous poet of Japan’s Edo Period (1603–1868). ^

 

References

Anderson, Peter, “A history of forgetting”, Artlink, vol. 23, no. 2, 2003.

Birmingham, John, “Sir Joh is so hot right now”, Brisbane Times Blogs (Blunt Instrument), 17 May 2007.

Birmingham, John, “The olden days: Red light district”, Griffith Review 21: Hidden Queensland, Brisbane: Griffith University, Aug. 2008.

Challinor, Kylie, “Iconic buildings of Brisbane: demolitions in the Joh era (part 3)”, blog item, 9 April 2011.

Diva, Lucinda, “A respectable face in the world: The two faces of Lucinda”, blog item, 29 March 2011 [archive file of original page].

Flaubert, Gustave, The Letters of Gustave Flaubert 1830–1857, vol. 1, 2nd edn, ed. & trans. Francis Steegmόller, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980.

Foley, Matt, “The olden days: The good ol’ days”, Griffith Review 21: Hidden Queensland, Brisbane: Griffith University, Aug. 2008.

Griffith University (Tony Fitzgerald Lecture and Scholarship Program), The Fitzgerald Collection: An Exhibition of Artwork and Memorabilia, at the Queensland College of Art, South Bank, Brisbane, 29 July–9 August 2009.

Hughesy, comment no. 6 (on the World by Night), 18 May 2007, in response to John Birmingham, “Sir Joh is so hot right now” (comments page 4), Brisbane Times Blogs (Blunt Instrument), 17 May 2007.

Koran, Leonard, Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers, Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge Press, 1994.

Millais, John Everett, Ophelia (oil on canvas, 1851–52), displayed in the collection of the Tate Britain (London).

Moore, Thomas, Care of the Soul: A Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness in Everyday Life, New York: HarperPerennial, 1994.

Nietzsche, Friedrich, The Will to Power, trans. Walter Kaufmann & R. J. Hollingdale, ed. Walter Kaufmann, New York: Random House, 1967.

Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission, “The Fitzgerald Inquiry”.

Ruskin, John, The Poetry of Architecture in The Complete Works of John Ruskin, vol. 1, Salt Lake City, UT: Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation.

Simmel, Georg, “The ruin” (trans. David Kettler), in “Two Essays: ‘The handle’, and ‘The ruin’”, Hudson Review, vol. 11, no. 3 (Autumn l958), pp. 379–85.

Wikipedia, “Prypiat”.

Wikipedia, “1989 Newcastle earthquake”.

Yasuda, Kenneth, “‘Approach to haiku’ and ‘Basic principals’”, in Nancy G. Hume (ed.), Japanese Aesthetics and Culture: A Reader, Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995.