Have you ever wondered what’s beneath your feet – I mean way beneath your feet, through the center of the earth to the other side of the globe? The common answer to this common question, at least in North America is “China”. But “China” is incorrect, the antipode of North America is the Indian Ocean, a less solid location. The word, “Antipode”, derived from the Greek anti “opposite” plus pous “feet”, seems to have grown from the fantasy of standing at both poles of a true diagonal through the earth with “feet opposite”. So enough of dreaming about what’s on the other side, I’m going there.
Antipodes, the project, is a road trip to paint outdoors in landscapes on opposite point of the globe. In the summer of 2009, I traveled to Botswana, and in May of 2010, to its antipode, Hawaii. With any luck, I hope to spend the next few years visiting other antipodal landscapes to paint. The purpose, besides satisfying my curiosity and attempting to make a few memorable paintings, is both to respond to specific places and to visualize the earth. If we are to maintain the environment so that it’s fit to inhabit, we must simultaneously preserve our neighborhoods and consider the global consequences of our actions. To stretch one’s perception from the local to the global is a feat that requires imagination and empathy. It’s also a challenge that defines our time. Antipodes is an attempt to represent this challenge.
Antipodes is the third part of a larger, outdoor painting project. The first part, Latitude, is a series of paintings made in one place over time to study the change of color, light and motif as the earth tilts on its axis. The second part, Along a Long Line, is a set of paintings, a blog and a book recording a trip along the 70th longitude beginning at the Arctic Circle and ending at the equator. Together with Antipodes these projects visualize the earth as a shared space, sectioned by scientific measure rather than political boundaries. I hope these projects create more compassion for the living world and that this sensitivity translates into improved environmental policy. I have doubts about the effectiveness of any of this, but the combination of hope and futility is at least a realistic position from which to act.