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photo: Fred Dott

What is True North?

True Norths is a work that compares ‘mundane’ and ‘sacred’ geometries that define what North is in different traditions. The mundane system is a one-point perspectival grid that has a vanishing point about 60 cm above the canvas. The other system is that of the interlacing circles that form perfect squares at the points where they intersect one another – this pattern is commonly found in Coptic and Islamic decoration. The work is ‘super vertical’ (if one can say such a thing). Inside the hetero-topic structure, languish a series of Whatever Beings (they are formed in a similar manner to another work of the same title) that point beyond or outside – in some fashion – the layered structure in which they are contained. The work plays with ideas of orientation, or even the “Orient” itself, as a challenge to the definition of ‘the Orient’ as made famous by Edward Said – a definition that I would say is a very occidental, or mundane, way of describing a theological and philosophical positioning of subjectivity.

I had originally finished the painting with quite a different set of more representational figures, but after living with the work for a few months, I decided to replace them with these algorithmic, contingent ones.