Airy geometry of heaven and earth
July 1, 2010. Source:
picture: Vanessa Hunter,
The white ochre is collected from a beach outcrop close by the Milikapiti barge landing. The blazing oranges and deep yellows come from Three Ways, in Melville Island's wooded hinterland. The jet-black is wood charcoal, burnt and ground down. These are the only pigments Tiwi artist Timothy Cook needs to compose his simple-seeming, vanishingly subtle works. But they are not just the hues and shades of his palette; they are the land itself, its substance, re-imagined, transformed.
Cook paints at the Jilamara Arts and Crafts centre in his small community perched on the north coastline of the Tiwi Islands, but his paintings seem to reach out and enfold the world. They are airy, spacious, unbounded; they record a vision so abstract it gives scarcely a clue to its foundations in traditional song, dance and ceremonial rite.
In fact the strong appeal of Cook's work to outsiders lies precisely in this near approach to the language of high modern art. Swaths of colour, endlessly modulating, overpainted with grids and blocked out patterns: his latest pieces could be at home in a modern art museum just as much as in a vogue indigenous art gallery. Appropriately, then, his paintings already hang in a range of venues. Private collectors seek out his art; it is on view in the main Australian state galleries and also in the two chief European havens of indigenous art, the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris and the Utrecht Aboriginal Art Museum.
A golden rectangle
is a rectangle whose side lengths are in the golden ratio,
one-to-phi, that is, approximately 1:1.618. A distinctive
feature of this shape is that when a square section is
removed, the remainder is another golden rectangle, that is,
with the same proportions as the first. Square removal can
be repeated infinitely, which leads to an approximation of
the golden or Fibonacci spiral..