Spiders on a boat still they spin their webs on the time-worn mast
Never realizing they are on a vessel traversing an ocean Through the threads they see
A landscape that is always changing
The web is its world and the tool is uses to take control of reality.
All measurements of time, events and identity
Are a continuous dialectic between consciousness awareness and reality
For me, 2017 was a very special year. It was at the beginning of the year that for various reasons I became interested in discussing the issue of time and spatial dimensions in astrology and science. It was as a result of this interest that I became familiar with myths and legends that inspired my research. Although technically these two subjects belong to different academic fields, they can also be traced back to the way in which humans have throughout history explored the essence of awareness and existence. Occasionally, when I visited IT Park Gallery I bumped into Ms. Chen Hui-chiao and whenever we started to discuss these subjects we ended up doing so well into the night. Perhaps then it is fate that I was given the chance to be a Glenfiddich Artist in Residence at a distillery in Scotland, in a place that is home to so many ancient legends.
Ever since I arrived to Glenfiddich, I started to sort out my thoughts calmly because of this transition in my life, and inspired by interacting with different artists. The story of a spider on the boat is a metaphor of my status of mind. As if it’s a script that plays on and on of the past, the present and the future.
Dufftown is a small town surrounded by nature, with only a handful of small restaurants and a few stores that sell daily necessities. As soon as night came the whole area fell silent, especially as there was not much in the way of entertainment. For someone such as me, used to the speed and convenience of life in a big city, this experience made instantly clear what was needed to live and daily life became extremely simple and slow-paced. As a result, buying vegetables, cooking three meals a day, bathing, going for walks in the nearby forest became the focal point of my days. As I settled into my new life, I found that the sunlight, the climate and the alcohol slowly facilitated greater emotional clarity and focus. It was in this frame of mind that I started to ruminate on the past and recalled thoughts and creative ideas from occultism and science. Moreover, the change in environment enabled me to re-experience the wonderful connection between visual sensation and the brain-mind.
During my time at the artists’ village I most enjoyed painting from nature by the ancient castle near the distillery at daybreak and dusk. It also seemed to me that to come to such a place and not paint from nature would have been to waste a golden opportunity. The castle looked out across a golden field of wheat and every time the wind blew the air was filled with the fragrance from the distillery. The natural light also made the castle’s stone layers, as well as the shapes and colors of plants particularly clear. It was almost as if I could see the very structure behind the details and I also discovered many color changes that I had never seen before. It was then that it came to me – throughout art history the pursuit of light, shade and color was exactly this simple and instinctive.
The artists at the Glenfiddich Artists Village occasionally held dinners where we exchanged creative ideas and chatted. On one occasion I and several others discussed the creative applications of “nets.” An artist from Shanghai combined a net bag used to carry vegetables and a Scottish tartan, against a background of cold colored lines with an industrial feel. Another artist from Australia drilled countless tiny holes in a sheet of white paper, to create a lightweight net that could sometimes be seen and other times not. In contrast, I thought of a net as representing a perceptive connection, a little akin to searching and intercepting data. Moreover, I adopted an instinctive methodology to connect and transform script and images in historical text, reality or myths, to create a painting detached from time. As part of these discussions, what I found particularly interesting was that despite coming from very different cultures, we were invariably able to find identical semiotics. On one occasion an Indian artist visited my studio and watched me working on the work “Rabbit the Time.” He then proceeded to tell me that he had once created an installation piece that dealt with the relationship between a rabbit and the moon. Perhaps that was just a coincidence, but it did underscore for me that all the people, places and things I encountered during my time at the Glenfiddich Artists Village was like a thread drawing me onwards.
18 x 20 cm | 2017 | Oil on canvas