SUSAN BIBBS - completed 2014
Visual Essays - Amid Chaos, Why Art?
- Colliding Worlds
- a visual essay starts with the visual work, words come much later.
- these discussions accompany the following visual essays;
Amid Chaos, Why Art?, and Colliding Worlds
In 1990 Voyager 1 photographed Earth from 6 billion kilometers away. The elegant spot in the deep is approximately 4.5 billion years old, built from the left overs of our own Sun’s primordial beginnings. Crushed into orbiting spheres, the planets were spun in the Sun’s gravitational imperative, leaving behind rocky asteroids embedded with carbon, metals, amino acids and ice.
It took a billion years to form Earth’s core and crust, under continuous seeding bombardment from space, and another billion years to see the formation of the atmosphere and the Earth’s water. Pregnant with potential, Earth became a home sometime between 3.5 and 2.5 billion years ago with the development of single-cellular organisms, like bacteria, that incase a nuclei with DNA. Another billion years later the multi-cellular experimentation began, followed with the explosion of life forms around 600 million years ago. If we imagine a clock starting right then, man appears at about five minutes to midnight, with the earliest evidence of forbearer tool making dating to about 2.5 million years ago. We are hardly even noticeable, a dot at the end of the last line of a very long story.
Humanity’s is a story placed in ubiquitous space where supreme chance was challenged by unique opportunity. Amid the infinite beauty of fractal art and creation stories, we seek answers, we are story tellers and problem solvers.
Humanity’s collective potential is embedded with the adaptive capacity of flexible thinking, encompassing both memory and creativity. It is due to the large numbers of neurons in our brains. As a result we ask questions and imagine answers, looking backward and forwards to problem solve, putting ideas into action. We follow lines of thought provided by our ancestors for the generational evolution of culture and the passing of knowledge. We use stars and tides to navigate the diaspora of our group. We make tools to expand knowledge, for exploration, to manipulate and control our environment. And we dream with phosphenes and meditate on the mountains, and seek altered states to manipulate the outcome of experience. We dream and we hope and as a result we adapt to circumstances, and we survive.
Accomplishments in problem solving are registered in culture through Art and Design. There is the art of diagnostic medicine and the art of harvesting the thread of a silk worm’s cocoon. There is design in both physical structures and political will. The enhanced capabilities of the human mind also bring full awareness of the actions we take, and with that comes the inherent responsibilities of knowledge. Abdication of responsibility is mirrored in the purposeful dissolution of scientific libraries coupled with the annihilation of natural ecosystems.
As Voyager 1 entered interstellar space in 2013, she took with her our questions and our dreams. If she could turn around and take another picture maybe we could be reminded, how fragile the space we hold, how large the jeopardy we entertain. There is one answer, in all our quests, that is certain; Earth is our only home.
The Artist’s visual image is a presentation from the preverbal mind and is fundamentally about the importance of flexible thinking.
Art is an expressed hallmark of adaptation in the human species, a physical manifestation of flexibility in thought, presented in the self expression of the individual.
Art marks the commonalities shared between all contemporary humanity with our ancient ancestors, in the neurological basis of brain functioning.
The study of Art History brings context to the progress and development of societies and culture. Contemporary Art, as an exploration by individuals, is interpretation of the lived experience of those cultures.
Art’s best outcome is problem solving on a grand scale, as art provides both structural interpretations of current events and identification of functional alternative outcomes.
Art helps achieve successful adaptation to stressful situations.
Art is both the thought before the action and the discussion after. Without Art, the joy of flexible thinking would remain within the individual. Art carries momentum of thought and provides the catalyst to build upon the action of those who came before, while creating an impetus for clarity in the unfolding events of the future.
Amid Chaos speaks to the challenge for Contemporary Art to remain a relevant tool for problem solving through flexible thinking, now when this primary function is most essentially needed.
The viewer of Colliding Worlds moves
swiftly through idealized environments of rivers (A Sweet Spot, Below the Falls),
and forests (Living Forest, Solid LIght),
abruptly into visual questions; do we know what is in the water (Damned),
how is water being harnessed (Cry of River),
what is becoming of the used forest floor (West Coast Ghosts 1 and 2) and
are forest resources being used wisely (Board Feet)?
Colliding Worlds faces fundamental problems of global imperative; clean water,
clean air and vulnerable species protection (All Eyes to the Future, In the Water).
We are not adequately protecting clean fresh and ocean water resources, nor
forests that function as the lungs of the world (Colliding Worlds).
While Colliding Worlds does not provide the answers, it does help us look at the
Colliding Worlds hopes Art provides a forum for flexible thinking, which is, in turn,
fundamental to problem solving. These abilities are now, most imperatively,
required of us all.
Colliding Worlds is an oil painter’s play with visual poetry,
using realism and surrealism to scrape up a bit of grid, rip, drip and collage.
Colliding Worlds is inspired by Vancouver Island’s natural beauty.