I’ve been obsessed with the paintings of Ainslie Roberts. His work is new to me, and I’m very glad I’ve discovered it.
Roberts is a British painter, who moved to Australia pretty early on in his adult life. His work is a mixture of the Australian landscape and native Aboriginal stories. So very beautiful and powerful.
I came across Roberts’ artwork by accident really. The Dreamtime fascinates me, and I was reading up on the mythology and ideas. I came across a Youtube documentary about Roberts called Beyond the Dreamtime, which was filmed just before Ainslie’s death in 1993. Its an amazing documentary, and well worth watching. Roberts’ also collected and published his artwork in a number of different books while he was alive, and I think I need to get them right away.
I’m a nerd for books, I admit it. I probably already have way too many myself, but I still plan on getting many many more.
Even though I love having my own personal library, it makes me so very happy to know that in a few days I’ll have access to thousands of additional books just a short walk down the street at the new Marmalade City Library.
It also makes me happy to see this library has finally come together and is completed. Plans were originally announced around 2004 or so, with groundbreaking expected to begin in 2008. But then the world changed, the economy collapsed and… we all know the rest of the story and the fun times we’ve had ever since. But the city has finally been able to build the new library and it’s doors open this weekend. More details below… w00t w00t!
CELEBRATE AND SEE THE CITY LIBRARY’S NEWEST LOCATION
Celebrate the opening of the Library’s newest location, the Marmalade Branch! The Grand Opening celebration will begin at 10am on Saturday, February 27 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and remarks from city officials. Activities suitable for all ages will continue throughout the day.
The Marmalade Branch is located at 280 West 500 North in Salt Lake City. For more information about the branch, click here.
I just finished the new artwork above, called “Infinite Worlds”. The basic theme of the piece is something I return to from time to time, but I am not completely sure how to write about it or explain why… I will try though.
I guess I will start by giving a little of my own personal background and how my beliefs and worldview have evolved over the years.
Although I was raised with religion, by the time I was out of high school, I had lost all faith. I lost it for a number of different reasons I am sure, reasons I won’t go into. What made sense to me at the time was a much more materialist view of the world. I believed in my meat body, what I could perceive with my physical body, and that me and the larger world were complex physical and chemical processes that had no real meaning. Creation seemed to be a kind of accident that happened through dumb luck and chance. Even so, I was still extremely curious about the world and obsessed with learning as much about science and philosophy as I could. The more I read and researched though, the more I had this nagging thought…
How do I explain this? It was evolution that started to bring glimpses of the divine and infinite back into my thoughts. Physics too I suppose, but primarily biology and evolution. In time I began to have a nagging thought, over and over, that there was some sort of sub-conscious mind running through nature, guiding the way that different species would evolve. Something guiding the way species of plants and animals would customize their descendant’s body, over time and many generations, in response to the environment. I hope this’ll make sense… For example, an individual moth’s consciousness doesn’t tell its body and wings to grow into patterns that resemble a large owl face in order to scare off predators. How does the moth even really register and know the appearance of the owl? Let alone know it well enough to change its body, change its whole species over many generations, to look like an owl? But that happens, and the moth is just one example. This happens over and over, in every species, to some degree. And yet the individual animal, its individual consciousness, isn’t controlling the process. Something larger is. Anyway, I still believe in evolution. I thinks it is a beautiful process. But I began to suspect that there was something moving through nature, what I started to think of as nature’s sub-conscious mind, doing things like changing whole species of moth to grow their bodies with owl faced wings. And then I began to realize that by thinking of it as a sub-conscious mind… well, the implication was that there would be a conscious mind running through nature too. Can you have a sub-conscious mind without also having a conscious mind?
I imagine that a materialist reading these words might believe I’m flat out wrong and have another explanation. I really don’t care though. I’ve come to know that materialism is wrong. Or, at the very least, is incomplete.
Anyway, back to my new artwork… Around the same time I was coming to these conclusions, I must have been 24 or 25, I had this dream. A very important dream that, over time, helped change my way of thinking, the way I see the world and every living thing, including myself.
In my dream I was in a large dark cave sitting in front of an urn filled with burial ashes. The lid of the urn was open. A strong wind rose and blew the ashes into my face, blowing my spirit right out of that cave with that ash. Up over the landscape, past the horizon, into the atmosphere. Eventually I saw the moon zip by, then the inner planets, and then the sun. I was moving through and past the solar system, out into deep space. I began to see larger patterns emerge while moving through the galaxy, through and beyond the Milky Way. Moving beyond galaxies and galactic clusters, I began to see this pattern slowly taking shape. Writing the dream out like this makes it seem like I must have been moving fast, but I was moving slowly through the universe. I was traveling slow, slow, slow. But eventually I was outside of it all and I could see the overall pattern and form. I could see the overall shape of the universe, and it wore a human form. It was this dark human form living in and surrounded by a bright bright white light. And I could tell that the Universe was alive and moving. It was slowly lifting itself up off of the ground, so slow its movement was imperceptible, but I knew it was alive and moving as if to stand.
Writing it down seems… I don’t know… I don’t consider myself to be that great with words. But I have returned to this dream a few times in my artwork. Trying to capture it and understand my dream a little bit better, and what it means to me.
Do I really think that this Universe wears a human form? I don’t know. What I do believe is: the Universe is alive. It’s alive, and everything in the Universe is an important part of a beautiful living system. A living and conscious Universe.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that the living Universe is a very ancient understanding. Adam Kadmon, Brahman, and so many others. Even modern science (granted, maybe not completely embraced science) can see the possibility if we consider biocentrism, the implications of Rupert Sheldrake‘s work, and even the holographic principle.
Speaking of the holographic universe… I was introduced to this concept at around the same time I had my dream. The basic idea is that the Universe is similar to a hologram, in that you can divide a hologram in two and each piece will still have all of the information contained in the original. Divide the pieces again, and still, the four pieces will contain all of the original information. Divide the hologram an infinite number of times and, yes, each piece will contain all of the original information. Its very possible the Universe works the same way. As pieces and important parts, it could be that each of us contain the whole Universe inside ourselves. You do, I do, the rocks and minerals do, the plants and trees outside, every animal, every man and woman, the earth and all other planets, the sun and stars, even that moth that looks a lot like an owl does too. It is all alive, a perfect reflection of the larger Universe.
… Another quick and sort-a random post today. Earlier this week I was walking up in the hills after dark when I looked up and saw this bird silhouette flying above me. A dark shape gliding against the night sky.
It was an owl, and it was actually there and gone pretty quick. But that quick sighting had me looking through my art history book for one of my favorite pictures of an old Egyptian relief carving of an owl (above), and then my mind kinda started to want to look at some pictures Athena and her owls (below).