Wherever You Are Is the Center of the World

Most of us spend some part of our day gazing at a computer screen. This experience, common today, is a key element in these paintings. Through use of the Internet, specifically Google Maps, the artist Susan Q. Brown and I explored the planet visually and painted the earth, just as throughout history painters have given their impressions in still life, landscapes and portraits. The result was eight 6 x 6 foot oil paintings with an installation with projected video.

We used methods of chance to chart these “maps,” reflecting the way in which a chance email, news story, or hyperlink will sometimes transport us to unexpected corners of the globe. As we painted, the chance operations occasionally forced us to obliterate images we cherished, just as one might occasionally go somewhere she did not intend. In other words, these paintings attempt to imitate the very ways in which we navigate our world today.

Renaissance painters said that the most important image of all is one of the world in which we live. This kind of image gives us a cosmology, tells us who we are by showing us where we are. They said that there is magic in a powerful image of our universe. These paintings bring this tradition into the present. For us, looking at the earth day after day felt quite intimate. We stumbled upon several uncanny coincidences and began to see more and more in the lands and seas of our beautiful living planet. We offer these paintings to you, for your own rich — and perhaps unexpected — realizations.

“As viewers we are invited to enter into a dynamic conversation about the natural world, philosophy, history, art, technology . . . in short, the universe and humanity’s place in it.”
~ Mara Williams Curator, Brattleboro Museum

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