"Primeval gods haunt the painter Gregor Harvie, Khaos, and Eros (love, the life-bringer). Spread across the fifty intense paintings of his new show, Eros has triumphed – life has proliferated so fast that Gaia is exhausted. Logic predicts that, full circle, Khaos will prevail in the future, but all we can see in The Crypt Gallery (the underworld!), where the fifty paintings are densely hung, is exponential cellular division evolving through to teeming crowds... That's the point – in a word, over-population – but if you didn't know it the pictures would stand alone, each representative of the whole. I like the cellular division ones best; by dropping turps onto a wet paint surface, Harvie has created really very beautiful filigree patterns. According to his innate sense of colour and tone, the accidental marks are harmoniously arranged, and beautifully delicate – individual qualities that counterpoint the apocalyptic message of the show."
Listen to Gregor being interviewed by Nicola Barranger.
Elegies by Alex Harvie
It started sixty thousand years ago.
A small tribe of humans began to work together to hunt, knapping flint into arrowheads. Over time, their numbers increased. These were your ancestors. They moved out of Africa and new generations went in search of herds to follow. This is how the slow expansion of humans began. Over the millennia they colonised every continent, becoming the world’s dominant species.
Your genetic code adapted down those generations. Through natural selection, certain traits survived, others did not, creating subtle shifts in the gene pool, making you the person you are today.
But over and over again, your ancestors’ success caused problems. As populations rose, damage to local environments increased. Too many trees were felled, depleting the soils. Nature’s balance was disrupted and creatures seemingly infinite in number were driven to extinction. Over and over again, cultures collapsed as they exhausted their resources. Each failure was all too predictable, all too preventable, a simple repetition of what went before; yet your ancestors did not learn, did not choose to remember.
Humanity’s growth continues. The world’s population increases by two hundred and thirty five thousand every day. You are one of almost seven billion people alive, a number set to rise to over nine billion by 2050.
Gene (jeen): a portion of a DNA molecule that serves as the basic unit of heredity. Genes control the characteristics offspring will have by transmitting information on short sections of DNA.
Meme (meem): a cultural item or message transmitted by repetition in a manner analogous to the biological transmission of genes.