Subterra: The Burning Underworld

magma columns - subterra.jpg

An exhibition of abstract works by Jonathon Goodfellow including LED etchings and digital prints on PhotoTex, canvas, aluminium sheet and archival cotton rag

28 May - 9 June
Thurs 30 May, 6-8pm

Beneath the Earth, the burning underworld.
The great collective reservoir of human fear
Beyond myth, sin and sanction a truth far stranger than any demon fable
Gifting rich soils good harvests full stables hot hearths and all manner of industry and science
Forged in an abyss of seething fire, molten rock and crystal iron hotter than the surface of the Sun 
Immeasurable powers far greater than any supernatural force found everywhere yet unseen, 
Even under skin, in blood, behind eyes, hanging over our heads, cast before us in space,
The greatest forces felt below Earth 
Protecting everything we know from even greater forces beyond 

‘Subterra: The Burning Underworld’  is my second solo exhibition and presents the culmination of 3 years immersion in all things mythical and contemporary related to notions of the underworld.

Universally understood and observed phenomena are not uncommon, although perspectives are coloured by local culture and practice, reflecting the great diversity that is the human condition. But few universal phenomena are articulated by so many different peoples or given such cultural prominence as the notion of the underworld. Its fiery incursions and associations with Gods both good and bad have given rise to many names: the ‘fires of hell, the ‘Kingdom of Darkness’, the land of the dead, the devil’s lair, the bad place, the punitive afterlife, with many more defined culturally including Patala, Mictlan, Tuonela, Duat, Tartaros, Hades, Diyu and simply too many others to list here. All incorporate similar characteristics and directly connect geophysical events to a mythical place or figure or belief. 

My real fascination with the burning underworld, explored in this series of images and related narratives stems from the strange truths science has uncovered therein, that far from supernatural or coincidental, are central to almost every aspect of human life. From protecting life on Earth from cosmic and solar radiation to providing a literal pollution and carbon-free power station beneath our feet, the story of this remarkable planet’s molten and crystalline core, is indeed the story of the evolution of life on Earth, and of course of the evolution of humanity. Embracing this history and science, the burning underworld may just prove to be the answer to our and the planet’s survival.

Jonathon Goodfellow

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