Open House 2007

This years Open House can be considered a success, with some very interesting/interested visitors. Overall numbers were down on last year, which was a little disappointing, but a combination of poor weather and the dearth of other artists open houses in the area is probably the reason.

I’m in two minds about how to approach next years event. Either move my work into someone elses house, open my house to other ‘like minded’ artists, or do something quite spectacularly different. Watch this space…

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L. Ron Hubbard (2007)

Update I decided it needed a little more work, here’s the new version.

acrylic on canvas 600mm x 600mm

Much of my work deals with the notion of ‘reputation’ – which aspects of a persons life are recorded for posterity, and which are not. Frequently what someone is remembered for has little bearing on their character, and in the vast majority of cases, history records but a few scant details.

In some cases, the ‘truth’ about an individual is massaged into a more acceptable form to suit the cultural, political or ethical framework of a changing society. In the case of L Ron Hubbard, and the followers of his religion, The Church of Scientology, there is an orchestrated campaign to create a mythical history about the man which would support his position as the faultless father of their movement.

For the record, I consider all religions in much the same manner, and certainly wouldn’t claim that a more recently invented religion is any less valid than one that was invented thousands of years ago – they are all preposterous, but they clearly provide a useful crutch for ‘believers’. When you get down to it, Scientology is no more ludicrous than Mormonism.

L Ron Hubbard was a science-fiction writer. He has been accused of many things at odds with the story disseminated by the Church. It is precisely the fact that he is a character undergoing a campaign of reputation-cleansing which makes him so fascinating – undoubtedly all religious figures from Jesus to Bhudda have had their stories modified over the years to suit the motivations of their followers – but in the case of L Ron, this is happening in our lifetime.

I recorded a timelapse movie of the creation of this painting:

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The Duel over the Calculus [diptych](2007)

Calculus is arguably the cornerstone of modern mathematics. English scientist Isaac Newton and German philosopher Gottfried Leibnitz both independently ‘discovered’ the method in the mid 17th Century. The dispute over true authorship continued for many years, reaching a head in 1711, when the Royal Society decided that Newton (an Englishman) deserved the honor of being credited as the inventor, rather than the German, Leibnitz.

Matters of honor were of the utmost importance during this time, and duels between rivals with swords were commonplace. 1711 is the year of the first recorded use of pistols in a duel. Of course Newton and Leibnitz never faced each other in such circumstances, but I like to think that should these aged academics have decided to settle their differences in this manner, they would have chosen the very latest in ballistic technology.

Duelling had an agreed protocol, strictly adhered to by all men of honor. ‘Seconds’ were employed to provide support to the protagonists, both in the preparation of weapons, and often as field medics should the duel result in injury. I have painted Einstein as Newton’s second, and Niels Bohr as support for Leibnitz.

Newton and Einstein can be considered as the masters of classical physics, Bohr and Leibnitz as the fathers of sub-atomic physics. The quantum realm is fascinating philosophically as a place where causality, free-will and determinism are fundamentally questioned.

What is the nature of causality, when a particle can exist simultaneously throughout the universe?

Where is truth when each sub-atomic particle can only be considered as ‘existing’ when there is an observer?

The left painting bears a quote of Newton: “Plato is my friend, Aristotle is my friend; but my greatest friend is truth”, while the right has a quote from Leibnitz: “There are two kinds of truth: those of reasoning and those of fact”

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shardcore inquisition #3 – Fred (2007)

third inquisition in the series.

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My Legacy (2007)

It seems fitting on this day, as Blair announces the date of his departure, to display a recent digital work.

This is a Hybrid Image of Blair and Thatcher – a digital print of this image currently on display at the Open House alongside Cameron/Thatcher and Bush/Nixon. It should be noted that I’m not the first to create a Tony/Maggie hybrid, Aude Oliva & Philippe G. Schyns have produced one before.

The image of Blair is visible ‘close up’, but if you step away from the screen a few feet, you’ll see the ghoulish face of Thatcher.

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