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Artist's Statement

I am not a realist. The Ocean Series is a Remodernist response to the color-field paintings of Mark Rothko.

These are not paintings of objects. They are not souvenirs of places, and they do not tell stories. They do present a recognizable image, and an illusion of depth. The image consists of the sea, the horizon, and the sky.

This is not the real, physical ocean, or atmosphere - it's a symbol. I propose that, as such,it can be universal.

The central theme in my painting is the search for stillness, the sort of profound and lucid calm that is the result of meditation or contemplation; another main theme is the relationship between humans, the ocean, and the atmosphere. The intent of my work is to create an ambiance where the spiritual dimension of this relationship can be experienced.

The ocean as life: the sea in our blood, the birth of life. The rocking of the waves, the cradle of life. The ocean is the mother of all living things.
The ocean as life’s journey: adventure, danger, the crossing of the great water. The desire to go beyond, to leave the old world behind and discover something new and exotic; the call of the sea.
The eroticism of the ocean: it can be wild, pounding, violent and terrifying, or warm, bouyant, gentle in its swaying and lapping motions; the calm after the storm.
The ocean as death: fathomless, unknown, dark, infinite, into which all rivers, however long their windings, must flow, losing their identities as they merge with that which was their true source.
The ocean is ever-changing. Observe it closely, its forms and colors are in constant flux, it is never still, you cannot exhaust its infinite variety. And yet, it is always and profoundly the same; the ocean as the passage of time and the persistence of memory.

Look at the paintings, not just a glance, spend some time at it. You are the figure that inhabits this eternal place. Notice how you feel. My intent in creating them was to make a meditative ambiance, a profound and lucid calm. They are intended as a tonic for the human spirit.

Today there are some 260+ paintings in The Ocean Series, and the motif continues to fascinate me.


There is something to be added - something that I believe is important, really vital, to the interest of every living creature on the planet.

During the Cold War, nuclear submarines of both the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. operated in a similar fashion as did our long-range bomber aircraft.

That is to say, they moved in patrol patterns that included a so-called fail-safe point. Once a sub had passed its fail-safe point, all communication with higher authority ceased and the sub's crew continued to operate under rules of engagement that are still classified top secret.

The U.S.A. lost at least two subs (Thresher and Scorpion), and the Russians once admitted to the loss of twelve of theirs, many of which may have been beyond the fail-safe point. Thus we have a total of perhaps fourteen fully armed nuclear subs that are assumed to be badly damaged and resting on the ocean bed. The location, depth, and condition of most of these subs is apparently not known, nor does there seem to be any large-scale, organized effort to find them. And even if we could find them, we lack the technology that would be required to clean up the mess. No program aimed at developing such technology exists. The hazards involved are terrifying, to say the least.

The amount of plutonium in even ONE of these sunken subs, once the containment is breached, will be more than sufficient to kill every living creature in the world's oceans. This mass extinction will include the phytoplankton that produces about 70% of the oxygen in our atmosphere.

Plutonium is one of the most deadly of all known poisons, and it has been stated that one pound of plutonium, if evenly distributed (and it WILL be distributed by the ocean currents), would be enough to kill every man, woman, and child on the face of the Earth. When the phytoplankton is extinct and the oceans are dead we humans - those of us who haven't already succumbed from eating contaminated seafood, etc. - will all die of suffocation anyhow.

If you haven't heard about this problem before, I'm sorry to have been the messenger. On the other hand, perhaps it isn't too late to clean up the ocean and maybe you, gentle viewer, will contribute some action that could yet save the whole silly, stupid lot of us.

Which brings us to the question of the social relevance, or lack thereof, of my paintings. Look at them again. They are a monument to something that is already, forever, lost.

Carson C.T. Collins
December 2000

For more information on this subject, see Sunken Nuke Subs Decay Toward Catastrophes at www.Rense.com

See also Many Nuclear Subs Litter Ocean Floor
at www.Seattlepi.com

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