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In a bookstore, I once overheard a girl, 6 or 7 years in age, talking to her little brother of 3 or 4. With what seemed like reverence, she was holding a book as she said to him longingly, "I want to be a know-it-all." I could relate. The acquisition of knowledge is one of the ways that we expand ourselves toward the infinite. And, not knowing feels like missing out. (And, of course, "knowledge is power" and can be exclusionary.)

We approach encoded information with reverential awe. There is something sublime about maps, graphs, diagrams, and complex equations, most especially those from unfamiliar domains of knowledge.

Indeed, Immanuel Kant's definition of the sublime provides for a "mathematical" aspect that we experience when trying to comprehend the incomprehensible. Nature was the primary vehicle for accessing the sublime according to Kant. And maybe this is a stretch, but I think the same principle that is at play when trying to take in the vastness of an ocean operates when looking upon such hermetic artifacts of thinking and understanding.

Put more simply, these paintings seek to occupy the border between comprehension and puzzlement -- or as someone more mystical might put it -- between Revelation and Mystery. Some record the experience of breaking through to knowledge and others despair of its inaccessibility.


Fisher King (Tides)


​10 x 10 in

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