'Life in Proxima Centauri B'.
122cm x 91cm x 3.5cm, Mixed Media on Canvas.
Could life be reborn within the human consciousness, as we begin to understand recently discovered distant planets that may host both water and temperatures suitable for life?
The concept of extra-terrestrial life has fascinated people and science since the dawn of time and now even while global concern for the climate crisis here on earth has increased, the new discoveries of super-earth worlds increase.
One day we may utilise a network of space telescopes to see deeper into the universe than ever before. Our understanding of life as we know it will be completely reborn.
While we may never see such worlds with our own eyes their discovery nevertheless sparks my imagination, as a trained scientist myself. If the possibility of life on these worlds is real I wonder could life on these worlds have feelings or thoughts, and if so how might they differ from the feelings and thoughts of humans, animals and all creatures of our natural world?
These ideas were in my mind as I began to paint 'Life in Proxima Centauri B', and I was pleased with the resulting work that aims to stimulate a positive and lively cycle of feelings and thoughts in the viewer.
I mixed use of acrylic paint with oil pencil to create some layers and ambiguity of meaning. For example the grey grid-like structure could represent a form of evolved cyber bio-technology, a device in the place of a mouth as part of the largest organism shown.
There are 9 separate life-forms represented in the picture, with bright colours I try to suggest the existence of more vivid and strange naturally occurring elements and colours that do not exist here on earth. This work is concerned with the nature of space, time and the human experience of meaning in life. We believe in the apparently linear direction of time, and yet we cannot explain how the interconnectedness of being links everything together. We have an altogether tiny understanding of the cosmic dimension. Is the universe an ocean? Or is our consciousness an ocean? Are we sailing through or over it?
I tried to evoke a sense of mystery and randomness in the use of colour and pattern and the relationship between various areas, and although a boat or vessel is not clearly represented, there is a boat depicted, while I aim for the viewer to experience a feeling of movement and travel. It is a matter of interpretation.
Some areas seem to attain a greater level of completion, and some seem incomplete, while boundaries are clear and not clear, invoking a sense of flux and change. The viewer will create their own sense of what is real. I tried to imagine life in a different galaxy while painting extemporaneously and without planning. I chose the orange colour to evoke positive feelings and energy. Blue helps introduce a sense of evolution, and the creatures are obscured and changing, and are neither plant nor animal. The viewer may feel a sense of calm and reassurance that things are the way they are and naturally in order. Nothing is static but everything is changing and evolving from simplicity to more complexity.
'Life in Proxima Centauri B' shows us how the redeemed and healed being of humanity can exist in our world, after moving beyond the wasteful and violent current mode of humanity’s existence on earth. How can humanity live in the nature that brought it to be, but in harmony and freedom?
Born in Istanbul, Özlem Sorlu Thompson paints in the flat where Piet Mondrian made his art studio in London. With Mondrian her influences also include the great expressionist artist Kandinsky and abstract surrealist Joan Miró. Özlem’s works have already made their way into the homes of renowned celebrities such as actress Anita Dobson and her husband Brian May, musical theatre star Maria Friedman, actor Andy Nyman, and several private collectors.