Easy Journey to Other Planets

Ron and George Adams, Billy Gruner, Philipa Veitch

Curated by Philipa Veitch


December 4 – 20  2003


Philipa Veitch, Dawn of the Supercosm, coloured pencil, acrylic, ink. gouache on paper, acrylic paint on wall, installation view, 2003


Easy Journey To Other Planets forms part of the series of exhibitions I have organised that have explored a range of ideas relating to planetary science, star formation, and the early astronomical, geological and biological processes that formed the Earth. Collaborating with Billy Gruner and Ron and George Adams, Easy Journey To Other Planets continued with these cosmological investigations, looking at the use of colour as one of the primary means of gleaning information about the composition and structure of the universe.

Among the essential tools of astronomical research are the techniques for deciphering light itself. As early as 1866, Isaac Newton had found that a beam of white sunlight will fan out into all the colours of the rainbow after passing through a triangular prism of glass, but the secrets locked in the colours eluded scientists for two centuries. This phenomenon appeared even more complex when it was discovered that the sun’s spectrum is slashed by numerous black lines. These lines remained a mystery until 1859, when experiments revealed that the features of the spectrum are governed by the density, makeup and temperature of the light’s source. Thus, a spectroscopic analysis of the colours emitted by a star can reveal it’s chemical composition, it’s temperature and it’s speed, and in fact much of what is known about the universe until recent years was gleaned from specroscopic analysis of the stars. These techniques are now being applied to the observations of distant planets under NASA’s “Search for habitable worlds” program, which is searching for, among other things, traces of oxygen, liquid water, and the numerous other elements critical to the existence of life on Earth and perhaps on other planets as well.

Easy Journey To Other Planets combined these cosmological considerations with the ongoing investigation of the formal qualities of colour that have been one of the primary interests of Billy Gruner and Ron and George Adams, exploring the use of colour as a tool for discovering the nature of the cosmos and it’s possible contribution towards future travel to other worlds.

Philipa Veitch,  2003