Who isn’t fascinated by the images of outer space, which have become available over the last few decades from ever more powerful telescopes: the iridescent colour play of stars in the making, the drifting clouds of stardust, the violence of supernova explosions, the shapes of galaxies. Still, for all their strangeness, some of these shapes look oddly familiar: drifts of dark matter which must be huge beyond human comprehension, look not much different from cloud formations in our own atmosphere. The spiral shapes of galaxies are found in living organisms on earth.
The artists I present on this blog have been inspired by those scientific images – but the borders between the scientific and the spiritual, the symbolic, even the religious, are more porous than one might think. Creation is creation, whether we frame it in terms of natural laws, or in the language of religion and myth. And we cannot help being in awe of it.
The very amorphousness of some cosmic phenomena is what appeals to these two artists: to play with colour and light, to be representational without the usual limitations of definite, recognizable forms.
Planets emerge amidst the unstructured waves of cosmic dust clouds: a dance of form and formlessness, with a palpable sense of movement. Another artist has taken his inspiration from traditional religious representations of the “Cosmic Dance”, to express much the same idea.
The opposition of form and chaos is also at the center of the next two paintings, though they have a more static feel to them: there is something ominous, almost threatening, about those massive planetary masses being engulfed by the darkness of a dust cloud, or in turn obscuring the lighted matter behind them.
Where older generations tended to imagine a ferocious horned monster as their archetypal image of dark and evil, nowadays we frame this idea in thoughts of huge dark celestial bodies obscuring all light, or black holes which suck in everything that is.
Then again, the brightness of stars and galaxies floating in the vast dark ocean of empty space, is an image of hope and comfort. In the old days, people put maps in the skies by configuring the constellations in the image of some animal or mythological character. These days, we still feel the need to connect the dots.
A rift appears in space. Might it be a doorway to another dimension? Might there be dragons lurking in the dark, after all?
A Column of Fire guided Moses and his people to the Promised Land, it says in the Bible. Where does this towering column lead us?
Finally, all becomes light. Collapse of the universe, or the Big Bang? Who can tell. But in this artist’s imagination, a tiny little human still looks on.
All images are copyright the respective artist, and may not be reproduced without their permission.