Maintaining Balance

The Tipping Points series shown above was inspired by cairns - or man-made stacks of rocks. Cairn, originating from the 15th century Scottish Gaelic/Old Irish/Welsh word carn, have dotted seasides across the world since prehistoric times.

For Victoria Brooks Melly, cairns symbolize the paradoxical relationship between "strength, dependence and vulnerability." When building a tower of stones, placement and patience are paramount. The strength of the structure depends on the relationship between all the elements. Each individual affects the whole. If one stone becomes unstable, the entire column topples. 

Brooks' Tipping Points paintings reflect the fundamental human desire to create, to strive, to build, to reach upwards, to construct stability out of imperfect objects. For generations, people have made cairns to mark trails, memorialize places, for use in ceremonial rituals, or for the fun of the engineering challenge.