The Ojets d'Art.

THE ABSTRACTION OF SATURN


Towards the mid 'nineties Phill started abstracting from the Saturn motif. At first, the motif was still apparent, as in the piece below, entitled 'Saturn Squared':

                 

But the 'Rings of Saturn' have abstracted into a square anulus: an attempt at resolving the difference between Heaven and Earth, represented by the circle and the square, respectively.

In time, the abstraction from Saturn was so complete that the form had morphed into a new concern, represented well by the following piece, entitled 'The Sphere Cubed':

                                      

And further development led to toying with the conjunction of the sphere and the four quadrants, which ironically became less and less 'spacey' looking, and reverted more and more towards something mediaeval in its feeling. Any further development in that direction would almost lead to eighteenth century gadrooning...

                                      

'Tazza for Opulent Indulgence'.  It's as though the sphere developed in space, as part of 'the little bang'.

Both the above pieces employed the stone 'ruby in zoisite': an ornamental stone simultaneously opulent and transforming; as though neither rock nor mineral.


Continued next page: Saturnalia and Saturnine...


SQUARING THE CIRCLE

'Squaring the Circle' has been a major preoccupation in Phill's work over the years. The expression is a symbolic shorthand for the resolution of duality. In other words, finding a middle way, beyond extremes.

There has been a long historical quest for addressing the interplay of opposites. It underpinned much mediaeval architecture and decorative motif. For example, it manifested in the quatrefoil (and the trefoil), which is evident in Gothic Cathedrals in everything from the cross-section of columns, through to tracery in stained glass windows.

Before the Middle Ages, the juxtaposition of the square and circle was well established, and is well exemplified by the floor of the Pantheon, which is a checkerboard of alternating circles and squares in two colours of marble.

 

Fig. showing the floor plan of the Pantheon

Later, in the Rennaissance, the square penetrating the circle was a fovourite motif, being realised even in the plans of fountains.

Throughout all these periods, one common ecclesiastical motif has been the dome atop the cube, whether it be the basilica or the mosque.

In the East, the Chinese were also preoccupied with resolving the difference between Heaven, represented by the circle, and Earth, represented by the square, evidenced by the long tradition of the Pi (or Bi) disc.

In Japan, many Zen adepts over the centuries chose to depict 'circle, triangle, square', with famous brush paintings by artists such as Sengai (1750-1838) being almost cliches now in the West.

As alluded to above, in the example of the dome on the cube, the logical extension of 'squaring the circle' in Phill's work, is 'cubing the sphere'.