On my Cosmos Series

“We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”                                                           – Dr. Carl Sagan

 

“Beauty is thus the very sensibility of the cosmos…”                                             – James Hillman, Blue Fire

 

 “Meaning is invisible, but the invisible is not contradictory of the visible: the visible itself has an invisible inner framework, and the in-visible is the secret counterpart of the visible.”                                             M. Merleau-Ponty, Working Notes

 

 “I believe that the human imagination never invented anything that was not true, in this world or any other.”                                                                             – Gerard de Nerval as quoted by Gaston Bachelard in The Poetics of Space

 

 

When I first saw the photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, something profound shifted inside of me – as if I had suddenly found something I knew intimately, yet didn’t know I had lost.  The pictures of deep space beckoned to me, or rather, its gravity pulled me inexorably into it.  The beauty, color and movement, the astonishing science and ultimate mystery of the cosmos were like songs that called to be sung.  And so I did, through paint.

 

I do not paint the cosmos literally, but study the science and look at the photographs until something hits me viscerally.  From this place, I begin.  Whether they are the spectacular images of what the telescope captures, such as swirling nebulae, stars being born, galaxies colliding or supernovae exploding; or more theoretical concepts such as black holes, dark energy, the big bang or the cosmic web, these all live as a moving force inside me that guides my paintbrush, directs my choices and brings itself to life on my panels.

 

Combining my studies of astronomy while painting from this place of inspiration is an alchemical process – something new is created.  The cosmos is a place we all intuitively know – from our personal wonder of looking up at a starry night sky, to an ancestral recognition that we, and our planet are connected to something much greater.  Reflecting the blank panels I start on, I begin with a sense of vast emptiness inside me, and the act of painting creates a universe itself.