|Painting As Art | HISTORY Page | Obituary Page ||
The large D.O.U.S.S. is a precursor of Unicursal Lifelinethey both are sparked by the same basic idea, and then other ideas which were aroused in painting D.O.U.S.S. were carried on into UL.
The basic idea started off at Open University Summer School at Durham in 1972one of those sunny, hot weeks that are both relaxing and stimulating. One of the happiest times I can recall in the past few years when I felt free, able to work hard on something I was interested in.
I could relax the way I like (sunbathing), enjoy the Gulbenkian art gallery (just across the road), particularly an exhibition of Tao art from China, get into conversation with a wandering American and spend all afternoon talking about art in other cultures, traces of abstraction in past cultures, in a way that time stood still... And I had a "cell" bedroom to retreat to and gaze over the green landscape through the open window and work out all sorts of ideas.
And the ideas just flowed and flowed, and generated other ideas, and I discovered the "space-filling curve"a line joining all points within an area or solidthat is infinite in length in that there are an infinite number of points in an area and is, paradoxically, an impossibility because a point is dimensionless. One of those mathematical concepts not to be taken too seriously because it is based on definitions and their manipulation in an abstract way but interesting for the things that can be done with it.
I wanted to show it visually in some way, say the start of the curve before it began to fill up the area completely. At the Tao exhibition, there were some prints of Taoist calligraphy, based on the rising streams and whorls of smoke from ritual incense burners (I ordered some prints for reference). I followed some textbook diagrams, making a square grid and connecting up the centres in such a way that units could be systematically linked and extended in certain ways and directions indefinitely.
And that was how DOUSS came into being.
It starts at one corner and travels tortuously over the canvas to end up in the opposite corner. The "points" became circles; the "curve" wrapped itself round them and linked up continously with other circles. So wherever the eye dropped on the picture, it was carried along the line restlessly, with calculated optical colour changes to be experienced en route so that the picture surface became a restless path for the eye, with constant colour distraction to stop the eye from stopping at any one spot. Nothing startlingly new there, but novel in some ways.
And then I wanted to do a self-contained version, a "loop" line that had no end and yet was not obviously [closed]. ■
|© RFV&SDS, MM12.|