The original book of life

A number of years ago I came across some drawings of delusions by schizophrenic patients and I decided to explore line work as I also have schizophrenia. My work over the past few years has been more about chaotic lines that overlap and I found you literally couldn’t have too many lines. The more lines the more depth and complexity. The lines in the drawings by the patients were more about mapping energy that was in wave patterns rather than anything chaotic. I gave myself an artistic licence and did a number of works that I felt were interesting. I have a friend who is an electronics artist who used spectrometers and lasers to draw lines in real-time.

I love working with lines as I always draw so recently I started using overlapping straight lines and various combinations of lines to create a sense of dimension and space. I actually don’t think you can not find an interesting approach to line work. I am also fascinated by how lines can create boundaries such as fences that are like a logical barrier to unwanted self-expression. Most graffiti writers if working illegally will find plenty of fences, a lot of artists like Tom Gerard, for example, use the fence as a motif in their work. I think I am more interested in the platonic fence in a joking kind of way.

I used the idea in some pieces of writing that Australia pre-colonisation was the first book that the Indigenous population read before the symbolic book turned up on its shores. Then the land was turned into a symbolic book also which Christian Europeans call the book of life. Europeans go on about tribal culture that has no written language as though the land was not actually read and interpreted from the original symbolic cosmology of the land itself. First nations depictions in paintings were part of capturing the grand story and they didn’t put fences everywhere to read territorial demarcations or dictate symbolic territories.

Now we have fences everywhere and the A to B logic of Europeans is in most ways about lines that separate and create trafficable areas for the initiated. The x-ray logic of First Nations paintings in Australia was more of a guide to the bigger world that has always been the original book of life and book of long-term survival.

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