ANCIENT LANDSCAPE, NEW ART
I keep a file of ideas, inspirations, and mementos, as many artists do. These images, articles, or hand-written notes may lie around for years before I realize that they have “seeded” an image in my work or may have provided a direction for it.
While preparing for my momentous trip to NAMIBIA 2005 to participate in an exhibition there I began researching this amazing country. Among the interesting bits of information I came across this incredible image taken by NASA and used in a BBC News online article. It shows a satellite photo of The Brandberg Massif, a granite protrusion that broke through the earth’s crust about 120 million years ago in what is now Namibia.
The most recently finished painting, “Delta”, continues the new series of work such as the triptych called “Dreaming of India”, featured in the last post, Following The Thread. These paintings are inspired by the vivid colors, textiles, and jewels of my trip to that country in late 2009. I had begun to think of the clipping long ago saved in the inspiration file. But I did not look at it, merely thought about the idea of the way the rivers fanned out into a kind of delta. I had forgotten completely about the massif shown. I began the painting with just the idea of “delta” in mind. The same linear marks combined with intense color and obsessive dots and patterns.
DELTA 2011 acrylic on canvas 30 x 30 inches
When I returned to the file to scan the long-ago clipped photo of the Brandenberg Massif I also found this image from the same article:
Here the image seems to resemble the staining and marks not only of these recent paintings but also call to mind the original “maps”, Four Maps For Karibib, made on folded Okawara paper for the 2005 exhibition in Namibia.
FOUR MAPS FOR KARIBIB-NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, WEST 2005 acrylic on Okawara paper
An interesting footnote to this post is the information I found on the Wikipedia page on Brandenberg Mountain (Massif):
Origin of Name
“The name Brandberg is Afrikaans, Dutch and German for Fire Mountain, which comes from its glowing color which is sometimes seen in the setting sun. The Damara name for the mountain is Dâures, which means ‘burning mountain’, while the Herero name, Omukuruvaro means ‘mountain of the Gods’.”
Tourists brave the dramatic desert climate to visit this northwest area of Namibia and to go to The Tsisab Ravine where thousands of ancient rock paintings can still be seen.
It seems fitting to discover that the landscape holds art from millenia ago and continues to inspire art in the 21st Century.