SUNN O))) are a band whose sound “invokes metaphors about landscapes carved by geologic deep time”¹ and makes “12-25 minute spans of slow-motion drone feel like a historic religious ritual.”² SUNN O))) are Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson, and they originally formed in Seattle, Washington in 1998.
The combination of SUNN O)))’s immense sound and my paintings, which explore the psychological impact of the Climate Crisis and how it effects our unconscious life, is, in my opinion, a meeting of kindred spirits. I think that both the music and the paintings evoke a feeling of “the ancient Greek idea of “ekstasis” — of being outside of oneself, of being outside of time. They confront the uncanny quality of the everyday world in this moment in history — the inherent transcendental strangeness of peering into an abyss.”³ In my work I have always tried to present moments of hope alongside the turmoil and chaos – usually represented by light breaking through the darkness. This contrast is present in SUNN’s music as well. As one critic said of Life Metal – “this album is as slow, heavy and massive as anything the band has ever put out, but this time around each track radiates a warmth and majesty filtered through a prism of intense, stratosphere-scaling sound.”⁴
I often think about the necessity of being aware of the fragility of our existence in order to truly appreciate the lives we live and how that can help us make the most of the time we have. That contrast between order and chaos, darkness and light, and pain and joy is an important part of being aware and alive. I also feel it is important to listen to our inner voice and pay attention to our dreams. I have sometimes referred to my paintings as inner landscapes, as they are mostly formed in the unconscious.
Stephen kindly shared his thoughts with me about how my paintings and his music speak to one another:
“As I came to Samantha’s artwork the connection to a consciousness based direction was clear, as well as a late 19th romanticism and mid 20th abstraction. There was something in the finer fibre of such elements (that I was perceiving) in the paintings which I felt could be akin to where O))) music was taking us, or at least where it seemed to be heading, with the Life Metal & Pyroclasts albums projects. When Samantha and I eventually met this became even more compelling. We viewed the paintings in her studio and discussed her direction of some indirect visualisation of interior landscapes, which I understood to be not imaginary ones but some sort of subconscious memory and experiential, sympathetic nervous system born expression in the liminal edges of her consciousness experiences.”
here is a video preview of the LIFE METAL album paired with my paintings.