Karel Nel
The Brilliance of Darkness
9th September - 9th October, 2008


ART FIRST is privileged to present the first exhibition of work to emerge from the COSMOS Project.

The Brilliance of Darkness writes Nel, "is my response to the process of looking into darkness to find light, and in finding light, to start looking at and understanding galaxy formation alongside our capacity to map and grasp the vastness, and our place within it. Darkness is revelatory, clear, all encompassing and is the nurturing matrix of manifestation itself.

"Working with the COSMOS team has exposed for me, the triviality of the human bound values that equate darkness with evil and lightness with good. Images now viewed from our telescopes were formed long before we emerged as a species and long before we constructed such values. Using the Hubble and Chandra satellite telescopes and many land based radio infra-red and x-ray telescopes the COSMOS team has found that a mere two square degrees of darkness has revealed a million new galaxies as large as the galaxy in which our solar system exists."

Nick Scoville, astrophysicist and leader of COSMOS, who appointed Nel, remarks that "in The Brilliance of Darkness Karel Nel recognizes and highlights a new insight to the cosmos above us, signalling that the darkness of space is central to both the human spirit and to our emotional health - indeed, to our very existence. The salts and carboniferous dusts he uses on the surfaces of his work were expelled in the distant past from the brilliant stars we see lighting up the night sky."

A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies this exhibition with new essays by Nick Scoville, Leader of the COSMOS Project, and Karel Nel.