Robert Linsley is an artist who lived most of his life in Vancouver and currently lives in Kitchener, Ontario. He has shown in Dusseldorf, Barcelona, Berlin, Portland, Vancouver, Toronto, New York, Los Angeles and Kitchener. He is widely published and still trying to come up with a title for his forthcoming book, subtitle Abstract Art in the Era of Global Conceptualism.
The straight line, and everything it enables, such as right angles and regular geometric figures, is an astonishing invention. The straight edges of crystals might have been noticed by our stone tool making ancestors, and some grasses have straight stalks, but otherwise straight lines in nature are very rare. As I sit and look out at a human environment entirely built on straight lines and regular curves I can’t help but admire the imagination and will that has cut through the irregularities and digressions of nature to impose something new and unprecedented on the world… it is the very image of how human society has distinguished itself from everything else, to make a safe space for the body and a formative, limiting space for the mind… the speed of our labours is nothing compared to the rapidity of our thought. The speed of thought must have evolved to exceed the reaction time of animals—we could draw conclusions from observation, make plans and act before lunch got away— but the movement of our minds is on a completely other scale than any aspect of nature. The physical motion of living things is slower, the growth and development of any organism slower still, the capacity of the environment to neutralize all the toxins we’ve dumped into it yet slower, evolution still slower, and geological time massively slow, in proportion as its productions are also massive. Meanwhile the human mind can range from the Big Bang to the end of time in an instant.