Landscape has spiritual and aesthetical values for artists. It has duel perspective to attract the artists in that, at one hand it offers natural beauty, tranquillity, peace and attracts them portray the natural beauty which gives freshening effects to the overworked and overburdened humanity. On the other hand, it has attracted artists and intellectuals to preserve it as they have fears of global destruction and of irreparable damage to the ecology – with landscape that express a longing for a spirituality and timelessness found in nature.
In this study I have focused three landscape artists, Jane Jermyn, Jenny Beavan and me to present and analyze what attracts the landscape artists to focus and portray landscape for their paintings and what is the value of landscapes for artists. These are contemporary artists and have gained popularity due to their unique style and profound adherence to the natural values.
Landscape in History
“Visual art reveals cultural traditions and beliefs in ways that are both obvious and obscure, in a voice that may be declamatory or hushed, employing images and symbols that may be conscious or unconscious. Meaning may float on the surface of a work of art, or be enfolded into its depths. And it is not simply through subject matter that meaning and cultural context are revealed: style, medium, formal elements, spatial concerns, even the refusal of representation, all reveal complex systems of belief” (Laurence, 2003, p.2).
What is so extraordinary about the artist as a person who has thoroughly immersed their artistic process in an exploration of revealing, sifting, and merging a creative and aesthetic practice with the natural environment? How do the resulting aesthetics of such works and processes allow and encourage the spectator to re-examine their own situation, be inspired, to take joy in the unique sense of the environment in which they live, and to examine their own surroundings with new vision.
It appears that we are living in a time of change. Contemporary society is rapidly developing through technological advances that are profoundly affecting the way in which individuals regard their surrounding world, and, in consequence, the way in which they live. Physical boundaries are diminishing through immigration and the merging of cultures as people seek better lifestyles, but society seems to place its values on the gain of material wealth, rather than on humanistic values, which has led to fast-paced lives that leave little time for sustaining and nourishing the human spirit.
This failure to appreciate the humanness of life is also reflected in society’s retreat from the natural world and the sensibility of a direct experience and connection with the Earth. In visual art, one could almost be of the opinion that the observer has had to learn to analyse a form of expression that is now detached from any spiritual or universal meaning. The artist and the viewer both have, consequently, become more self-conscious, wanting more from the world, but afraid to speak out for fear of ridicule from critics as our art becomes increasingly personal.
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I plan to explore the way in which three artists, including myself, are responding to their landscape, with an emphasis on the profound manner in which they become completely absorbed within the sense of place. Although there are a number of important aspects that influence creative responses, such as human history, archaeology, and/or human experience, I will show that an artist’s inspiration extends beyond these, with such creativity being drawn from an intense emotional connection to a landscape that transports the individual into the realm of the sublime in nature and an aesthetic experience.
The landscape, for artists, is a source of infinite inspiration that is used to generate an aesthetic response. It portrays a complex world of texture, colour, patterns, and shapes, such as eroded footpaths and lichen growing on rocks, which equips the artist with a continuous supply of transcendent material, and which fosters a rich and immense relationship with nature between the artist and the surrounding environment. I will address this artistic response with an aim to exploring connections to the natural world, the essential reasons for artistic inspiration, and the role that landscape plays in realizing creative vision. Included within this, will be an investigation on how these artists have challenged perceptions of the natural world and provoked a fresh look at the landscape.
The basis for the theories presented in this dissertation are based on initial research and investigation, which included a number of books, reviews and journals that have researched the language of the landscape through artistic interpretations. This topic has been limited to looking at two ceramic artists’ works, in order to reduce the scope of this topic, who are both responding to the British landscape to which my own work draws some parallels, as we seem to be sharing similar visual language when interpreting the landscape. However, the focus of this dissertation is to inspire thought and contemplation of the impact of landscape in artistic expression, and to broaden the scope of understanding of the works and their individuality, thus creating a deeper understanding of my own work. I will therefore refer to historical perspectives and cultural aspects to inform my research.
Ceramic artists Jenny Beavan and Jane Jermyn are both artists that are inspired through their surrounding landscapes. Jenny’s work is profoundly influenced through the coastal and inland formations of Cornish landscapes, while Jane, who was drawn to West Wales because of its natural environment and its landscapes, is a ceramic artist who was originally from Ireland. She claims that the inspiration for her work “comes from the natural world – geological formations, strata and textures” (Jermyn, 2005). Through considering the work of these two artists, I will provide speculative reasons for the artist’s creative responses to their surrounding environment, which will be based upon the notions of contemporary writers, viewers, and personal reflection. I came from a city to rural Wales and have found I have a deep emotional connection to Wales that is not historically based as I have no family roots here. Rather, I seem to have a deep spiritual connection that helps to inspire my work. Following this, I will consider the work of two Land artists, Chris Drury and David Nash, in order to create a baseline against which any differences can be evaluated, along with a personal consideration of my own work and the way in which it reflects the theories presented in this dissertation.
“The spiritual life, to which art belongs and of which she is one
of the mightiest elements, is a complicated but definite and
easily definable movement forwards and upwards. This
movement is the movement of experience. It may take different
forms, but it holds at bottom to the same inner thought and
purpose” (Kandinsky, 1914).
The profoundly spiritual relationship that can exist between the natural world and human beings is a reality for the majority of artists who use landscape within their work. Both deeply intimate and personal, the surrounding environment becomes a rich inner source of artistic creativity. This reality has been portrayed throughout the history of art, and is evident within the various artistic disciplines. Potters, painters, sculptors, and so forth, when asked about the source of their inspiration, all point towards the significance of landscape within their work, and speak of a profound and intimate relationship with nature that is spiritual, philosophical, and deeply personal (Kandinsky, 1914).
Art and spirituality have shared a strong bond since the beginning of humanity, and have habitually been intrinsically intertwined and mutually reinforcing. Usually inspired by internal reflection, art has addressed every aspect of human need and life’s greatest mysteries: the nature of the cosmos, the role of humanity within the universe, concepts of death, notions of an afterlife, and moralistic codes that society imposes upon individuals and groups. The spirituality of art, however, does not always address conventional understandings of religion, but attempts to seek deeper meaning beyond the conception of self. It reaches into the abstract to find meaning and purpose in the reality, probing at the sources and nature of life and death, while also seeking to understand and acknowledge the indefinable, ethereal forces at work in the universe.
Abstract art, despite it being widely considered as a modern art form, has its “roots in ancient history showing up in early decorations for textiles and pottery” (WWAR, 2007), and is conceived through the artist’s relationship with the surrounding environment. This deeply spiritual rapport, which is reflected within each individual piece, is revealed through tone, texture, colour, and shape, all reflecting artistic impressions of a natural connection and relationship with the environment. Each work, consequently, is more than just an isolated, single creation. Instead, it reflects the context, the environment, and the culture in which the piece was created. More importantly, however, it portrays the highly personal conceptions and worldview of its creator – in particular his or her sense of the spiritual within nature. The importance of Landscape and a sense of place, within this should not be underestimated. Laurence (2003), states
“As with our understanding of culture, our sense of place is immediate and particular yet also historical and comprehensive. Place signifies far more than geographical location or topographical description. Place is constructed out of our shared knowledge and beliefs about the nature of the world – and the world of nature. Place comprehends our feelings of belonging or estrangement, our identification with or refusal of certain forms and elements, whether urban or rural – a horizon line jagged with mountains or skyscrapers, a beach strewn with driftwood or sunbathers, a tree standing in a forest or on a busy boulevard – and our understanding of where we fit in and where we don’t” (p.2).
Contemporary artists continually stress the significance of place. However, this does not concern the placing of the artist in the landscape or simply portraying a scenic view. Instead, it concerns the interaction in “which both the art work and the landscape are more than sums of their parts. Art is no longer mimetic but becomes part of the land” (ucl.ac.uk, 2007). Consequently, the landscape, rather than being something to be duplicated or copied, becomes the artist’s “primary source for the genesis of the work” (ucl.ac.uk, 2007). It is the place, the actual setting, which is rooted in place, and it is this that essentially molds creative activity, while the artistic meaning and identity found within place is transferred from the artist into the work.
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The evidence of the importance of space can be seen throughout the work of numerous contemporary artists. Andrew Palin’s work, for example, clearly portrays recognizable characteristics of both the landscape and seascape, with strong suggestions of geographical locations. Palin, who studies coastal erosion and rock formations, captures the essence of a place through introducing glaze to clay. Kiln firing then facilitates “a synthetic and accelerated re-enactment of environmental effects upon the earth’s surface ….. (transforming) the glaze into a bas-relief of fauna and flora, limestone cliffs and mineral deposits” (Ashley, 2006. p.89). Jeff Minchham’s work also depicts strong images of place and landscape. As noted by Ioannou (1998),”His earthy, freehand vessels can transport us into a cool, northern hemisphere of highland mountain and lake landscapes, where the textures and colours of dark craggy cliffs, weathered stone, copper-green lichen and the steely blues of deep-water lakes.” This affinity with landscape and space is, therefore, at the very heart of contemporary art, and is reflective of each artist’s profound and deeply personal relationship with their surrounding world.
The natural beauty of the earth, its mystery, and its inner life, which is reflected in the way in which it is constantly shifting and changing, has been a significant source of inspiration for artists throughout the history of humanity. An artist’s relationship with the Earth, however, rather than being based purely on the visual, is founded within nature’s mystical or spiritual qualities. Although visual excitement both supports and renews artistic inspiration and creativity, within the vast majority of artists “there often runs a current of feeling akin to religion” (Baur, 1958). The way in which such a relationship is experienced, however, can take a number of different forms, for example, some artists consider themselves a fundamental part of nature’s order: “Man is part and parcel of the total ecology of the universe and fulfils his function …. along with plants, animals, stars and galaxies. I am nature” (quoted by Baur, 1958, p.8). Jilly Tinniswood, a Welsh-born artist, points towards the importance of “the fusion of the ancient and the contemporary that has shaped (her work).” She goes on to say, “You can only be so deliberate when creating. The rest is up to something else that we still cannot define. Sometimes the whole process has such a life of its own that we might consider the artist to be the medium …” Through these examples, we can see that no matter how such experiences are expressed, it is clear that the artist’s rapport with the natural world is both real and intensely personal.
Artistic inspiration through landscape is also depicted by the way in which nature becomes so detailed, with intimacy being so close between the artist and the natural world that his or her experience and understanding of the environment reflects an almost physical association. Each individual aspect of nature becomes vital, alive, and full of story and colour. “I have always been fascinated with the colours of the native woodland, mountain and moor land,” writes Patrick Cooper.
“I am struck by harmonies of colour such as the reddish upper branches of scots pines contrasting with their pine green foliage or the maroon heather and yellow autumnal birch leaves. To gain inspiration and ideas for paintings I will sometimes make 2 to 4 day trips to remote places” (Greenart.info, 2007).
As we have seen, artistic response toward landscape, their individual sense of space, and their intensely personal reaction and relationship with the natural world, is based on a number of aspects that involve subjective interpretations. A number of individuals have exhibited and written in relation to notions of the social construction of landscapes. The majority of this work has emphasised that the natural world cannot be detached from its association with culture, or with the accumulated thinking and worldviews of art, religion, science, and philosophy. Experts within each of these disciplines have illustrated the way in which the given culture “shapes our understanding of and relationship with our natural environment, and thus its representation in our art” (Laurence, 2003, p.2). In consequence, “our perceptions of nature are never ‘pure,” merely the simple psychological register of our senses, but always socially mediated” (Laurence, 2003, p.2).
The way in which culture affects the relationship between the artist and landscape is demonstrated by the almost universal concern among artists for planetary issues and preservation. An artistic relationship with the natural world involves the notion of love, which is expressed through the desire to care for the planet through actions and works that depict such feelings. Jimmy Pons art, for example, is a permanent and visual reminder of humanity’s reliance on, and exploitation of, a resource that is rapidly disappearing, and with which humankind continues to destroy the environment. Pons basic material is the “tar biscuits,” which are dumped by oil tankers at sea, and which find their way onto the beaches of Spain. His work, which is truly inspiring and thought provoking, is created through dissolving the tar to make pigments. “I found that so many different colours came out of it, from black to creams … I wanted to create something beautiful and positive out of such a negative and pollutant material” (Greenart.info, 2007).
Finally, all personal understandings and conceptions of the concepts of landscape, space, and relationship, are mainly subjective. Mark Tobey stated that the artist is interested in what they feel about it and therefore paints that, while it can also be suggested that artists desire to give an objective form to their own subjective feelings about nature. Firstly the artist sees the object, for instance a mountain which expresses something to him/her, essentially it is the same phenomenon which attracts many other artists. But when the particular artist begins to use their individual materials, something else comes out. It is this artistic response that is essential within contemporary art and their own personality emerges. (Hyde Solomon 1958) You cannot measure what occurs.
As this research has shown, different artists have different perspectives and conceptions of the way in which landscape influences their work, and each artist has their own personal understanding of individual space and relationship. The way in which landscape is used within art, therefore, is different for each artist. It is highly personal, even intimate, while also being significantly spiritual. The personal side of this cannot be overstated; each individual work portrays often intense and private thought and feeling in relation to a whole wealth of subjects. An artist’s work, consequently, reveals a part of its creator; it reveals passion, creativity, thought, mood, beliefs, values, and so forth, while each piece is the creative result of the artist’s use of landscape.
Although in the 20th century the major artistic movements were no longer dominated by landscape, it remained an important subject or element as painters responded to the successive fears of the century—world wars, increasing industrialization and materialism, the threat of global destruction and of irreparable damage to the ecology—with landscapes that express a longing for a spirituality and timelessness found in nature.
In the 1940s, particularly after the horrors of Hiroshima, American painters sought to reassert ‘man’s natural desire for the exalted, for a concern with our relationship to absolute emotions’ (Newman, 1948). The lack of such a relationship is poignantly present in the nostalgic, Maine landscapes of Andrew Wyeth (see fig. 12), where the artist brooded over the timelessness of rocks and hills, and ‘the bone structure in the landscape—the loneliness of it—the dead feeling of winter’ (Corn, 1973).
The prime concern of landscape painting is the depiction of natural scenery. Like the other independent genres that appeared in the 16th century it was practised in the classical world and vanished with its collapse. As with the other genres, the practice of landscape painting began to re-emerge in a fragmentary and cumulative fashion during the later medieval period, and classical texts about it were cited in the (rather sparse) theoretical writing on the subject from the early Renaissance onwards. Among the themes that preoccupied scholars in the 20th century were the relationship of landscape painting to wider attitudes towards nature, and the extent—if any—to which the concept of landscape must necessarily have had to have been enunciated before the fully developed specialty could appear. Current scholarship is concerned with a range of other issues, notably the socio-economic motivation for the patronage of different kinds of landscape.
The same desire for preserving natural rural beauty as well as an escape from the industrialized and materialistic society is visible through the works of Britian landscape painters. My focus for this study is on Jane Jermyn and Jenny Beavan whose works are good illustration of what the artists feel about the purity of landscape and nature and compare it with the impurities of the materialirist values of the society. She exresses this desire through her ceramic work
Her ceramic work is gets its inspiration from the natural landscap and she mixes unrefined, indigenous clays with hay to form an adobe-like material. For her work she describes:
“This mixture is then built over a support, usually woven from hedgerow materials, but I sometimes use an old TV satellite dish. The work is then finished with various additions of porcelain slip, other clays, quartz pebbles, shells and copper wire. The forms are fired soaking wet, in either a gas- or wood-fired kiln. The organic material burns out, leaving a woven pattern on one side of the piece and various fissures in the surfaces of the work. I then rub in copper carbonate and retire in an electric kiln, which helps to emphasize the fissures.” (Ceramics Monthly, 2002)
It is the elemental nature of ceramics which excites Jermyn, and the clay itself, the making process and finally, the firing. Her work is in the realm of the applied arts and indeed she began as a functionalist.
She has good throwing and hand-building skills and she enjoys making in this way but, gradually, as she has begun to explore clay and its possibilities further, she has moved away from the function completely. Skill and process are still of importance to her way of working, though these are now directed primarily towards aesthetic ends, rather than those of utility and function. (Jane Jermyn, 2001)
According to Jermyn, her inspiration comes from the natural world and geological formations, strata and textures. She comments:
“I want to suggest the ‘essence’ of nature, rather than merely to imitate it. I see my work as a celebration of nature through clay and fire or a basic material transformed by an elemental force into objects of beauty. I do not plan work except in the broadest sense. Previous work leads to new ideas or surface finishes with a systematic development through the evaluation of each process.” (Wet Fired Ceramics, 2001)
She works intuitively, rather than to an obvious intellectual concept and enjoys the spontaneity involved in working in this way. The outcome can be controlled only so far and the final result is up to the firing and a certain amount of ‘serendipity’, she adds. It is since developing the method she now uses, that she feels that she is finally finding her own ‘voice’.
Below are two ceramic pieces of work which illustrate her approach to landscape and her imagination in ceramic art. She finds her expression through abstract works which demonstrates how she would like to see the beauty of landscape. The abstract work enables the artist to visualize the things as she perceives to be rather than how it is in reality. It is a desire on the part of the artist who wants to escape from the materialistic world and find pleasure in a world free from the greed for money, snobbery and much devotion to the worldly possessions.
The central theme in Beavan’s work is the importance of place (Imogen, 2007). Cornwall in general and Bodmin Moor specifically, have been and remain important for china clay and slate mining. Throughout the country there is a tension between industrial residue and the apparently natural landscape. Everywhere, including the Camel Trail behind her new studio, there is evidence of quarries, drying buildings, water management conduits and disused train lines, of the mining of the earth. There is also an uncompromising beauty – or to be more exact, a rugged picturesque quality – that drew Beavan to the area.
Texture has always been important in her work. In the asymmetrical vessels from the mid 1990s, texture and colour were added on the surface in a gestural manner that suggested the landscape. In the work from the Imerys’ residency, texture was integral through the incorporation of clay granules, found grasses and weeds that left their trace firing. In her new works, texture is impressed into sheets of clay from tree bark and taken back to the studio to be transformed.
Water plays an important role in her artistic work. For her, water is a symbol of life. As she remarks:
I seek to portray the ‘nature’ of both porcelain and water as they share the same free spirit, both determining their own life force/equilibrium, defying unnatural pressures to be tamed.(Potters and Ceramists, 2002).
The importance of water in her work can be realised from the extract from her diary dated 2002.
“I heard the sound of water coming from its source, and promptly made me way back along the river. It was strange that I had not recalled the sound earlier. I became aware of a strong flow, a white river of china clay speeding down the track marks. I followed the chase as the river came forward in a hurry, engulfing the clean water of the original flow, sometimes diverging in its path, and coming together again further down its route, eventually rushing over the edge and beyond. I watched and listened as this cycle repeated itself several times that morning.”
Water saturates, shifts, seeps, explores, exploits, distracts, destroys, manoeuvres, penetrates, mixes, grades, attacks, finds a way, a path, a passage, dislodges, surrounds, circulates, gravitates, yet can be drawn upwards to form clouds. It is rarely pure; it can contain contaminants, minerals, debris, detritus. It can damage and up-root vegetation but can also gently carry its seed. It can create a multitude of sounds in its movement and yet at times travel peacefully in silence. It can be affected by external conditions – light and dark, heat and air. It is constantly changing its condition. If we think that the water that surrounds us will one day be the water within us, we might think of water in a different way. [Diary entry January 2, 2002]
Every day spent on location, brought intimate encounters and lasting impressions, stimulating all of her senses. Changes constantly took place and she was glad to have kept a diary, which helped her to disseminate her experiences. An extract from her diary is presented below for illustration the mode of her working:
“There was not much going on in ‘Melbur’ today, only one monitor and a digger working together. I followed a river sourced by a pipeline, along dumper tracks onto the first ‘level’. From its steep descent through the track marks, the river then flowed calmly along in rivulets filling quite a flat area – I had to be careful to avoid treading into its passage, there seemed something almost sacrilegious about walking in the path of the river. From this ‘level’ it made an acute bend and returned down a shear rock face to cascade yet again down to the next. Then dropping through an eroded depression like half a crater, finally disappearing to a lower ‘level’ and out of sight.” ([Diary entry July 13, 2002]
The focus and heart of Jenny Beavan’s work is found within Cornish landscapes, which includes the coastal and inland formations. Drawn by an interest in “movement in relation to natural change” led Jenny “on a personal quest into the exploration of changed states of matter: decay, disintegration, movement, relocation, and reformation” (Beavan, 1998). This involved spending time recording and studying the cycle of water in the clay mines of Cornwall, in order to assess the way in which the water’s movement shaped and created the surrounding landscape.
Jenny’s journey into landscape, which she considers as being a profound mystical experience that has enabled her to make “links between the development of the vessel in ceramics, the development of the geological vessel of the earth, and the human vessel of our bodies” (Beavan, 1998). Through exploring decay in nature, in particular that of land movement caused through both humans and the natural disasters such as geological faults and volcanic activity, Jenny studies changing patterns in the landscape. She then uses the natural elements indigenous to her inspirational sites as a way of both extending and capturing the sense of change, including mine spoil, decomposed stone, beach and volcanic sands, minerals, river mud, through which she “implants a strong representation of ‘place’” (Beavan, 1998).
Jenny Beavan derives her raw material from the earth. When she hears the rainwater rippling on rock, it inspires her to ponder over geological and human evolution. She has found a medium in which form and process combine to communicate something essential about the layers and cycles of life. Clay is past, present and future. By its very nature it contains history, is held in the hand today, and finds forms which will ultimately return to the earth. In this way, clay presents a journey that is to do with the fragility of life on earth, humanity’s struggle to survive and the balance that is needed to ensure that all life cycles are in harmony (Drumcroon, 2004) .
The speciality of Jenny Beavan lies in her use of texture and glaring colours. She not only demonstrates her love for landscape, she also skilfully illustrates how the natural beauty can be preserved.
My Own Work
Since the last few years, I have been visiting places which are important from the landscape perspective and I have been recording the memories of my visits for later using as inspiration for my work. Often I take digital images of the place and zoom these to have a closer look which helps me creating textural slabs or panels, depending what has caught my eye. The landscape of West Wales has tremendous inspiration for me and this beautiful countryside brings me inner peace, which, increasingly, leads to a paring down of forms within my ceramics, to bands of colour and texture. There is no shouting about the weather, rather a quiet satisfaction in holding a rock or stone with hints of precious crystals within. This tranquillity and calmness of the surrounding helps me have a introvert view of my inner self and brings me closer to my soul, a sense of pleasure which one can only experience when there is no tensions and anxiety of the materialistic world. My work is abstract and my inspiration is firmly rooted in the natural world – the subtle colours of mountains and rock, the ‘handwriting’ of knitted lichen and moss, the curves of the undulating hills in the valleys and the sound of nothing.
My primary interest is in making ceramic objects and I derive the guidance from my own thinking and reflections. Further, the inspiration for my work comes from the personal journeys through life, a choice of path, do we follow like sheep for ‘the want/must have society’ or do we ‘stop’ and choose to follow our own path which allows us time to appreciate our surroundings and the very essence of our being.
In this must have society, we crave, and we are blinded to strive for objects of desire. The focus of our desires, the more fashionable the better, become a social commentary , not necessarily improving our lives, but just giving a false impression to others that our own life styles are perfect. The raw materials for many items were dragged from the earth, by the toil of man, beaten and formed to become the objects of our desire, dangled in front of us making us work blindly for this one aim, following convention, in this ought to have ‘society, only to be later discarded for the most up-to-date icon.
The once ‘object of desire’ item is shunned and discarded, ignored, left abandoned in the landscape, to be reclaimed by the earth. This one item we have all strived for, now discarded shows the futility of our toil. The lost hours working and struggling just to ‘possess ‘this one item has taken away our sight of what is around us, we have been blinkered into ‘owning’ just this one item, resulting in not having time to enjoy life and our natural environment. We have a choice, do we carry on following a negative and ultimately destructive path or do we actually stop, stand back and take time, to look at ourselves, our society and of course our natural environment.
The juxtaposed position I aim to show or express will be shown mainly in the book form, the book is only object that allows us to sit and spend time to ourselves, thus reflecting our hectic lifestyles. My intentions are to invite the viewer to slow down and stop, to look at leisure, enjoy the contours, line, beauty, simulating the simple pleasures we often overlook.
My connection with the landscape is important to me for taking time out and wanting to share my experiences of simple pleasures with the viewer. I try to question our contemporary society with our penchant for materialistic values, egotism and quest for power which leads to over work, stress and not having enough leisure time to fulfil our needs for undemanding natural instincts to be at one with the earth.
My intention is to persuade the viewer to stop and look, highlighting the need! I plan to make ceramic objects that are informed by my thinking. My work is inspired by the natural landscape and stems from an interest in the relationship between our fast pace of life, slowing down and stopping to see the beauty of the hidden elements of landscape we often overlook, by taking this phenomena and documenting findings between and on pages of clay, which in turn are fired to keep these images frozen in time. My intentions are to invite the viewer to slow down and stop, to look at leisure, at images or textures that evoke landscape, the simple things like lichen growing upon a wall, moss in between rocks, or the textures and colours found in crevices of stone and rock, a piece of fallen bark on a path or just the way the hills curve and drop. My connection with the landscape is important to me for taking time out and wanting to share my experiences of simple pleasures with the viewer.
- I try to question our contemporary society with our penchant for materialistic values, egotism and quest for power which leads to over work, stress and not having enough leisure time to fulfil our needs for undemanding natural instincts to be at one with the earth
- Within this body of work, I specifically choose to echo the forms of traditional books, but made in a sculptural context. Culturally the book, carries a weight of meaning, including, power, commitment, sentimentality and possession. I will be abstracting formal elements from the book itself, taking these elements to rearrange in a sculptural form, the ‘pages’ will be place in crevices, slits or holes at angles to represent the book. The pages will be free of text, made from porcelain which fires a beautiful transculant white. The viewer can put their own thoughts to these pages, I do not want to put any writing or content on these pages as we already have enough ‘clutter’ in our lives. I also intend to have beautiful glazes in these crevices, only seen if the viewer ‘looks’ through the pages, thus emphazing the need to stop and look. My work will not in any way look like a book, the book is just a metaphor. But the pages will be symbolic.
The prime concern of landscape painting is the depiction of natural scenery. Like the other independent genres that appeared in the 16th century it was practised in the classical world and vanished with its collapse. As with the other genres, the practice of landscape painting began to re-emerge in a fragmentary and cumulative fashion during the later medieval period, and classical texts about it were cited in the (rather sparse) theoretical writing on the subject from the early Renaissance onwards. Among the themes that preoccupied scholars in the 20th century were the relationship of landscape painting to wider attitudes towards nature, and the extent—if any—to which the concept of landscape must necessarily have had to have been enunciated before the fully developed speciality could appear.
The industrialization and globalization in the modern world has affected the natural beauty of our landscape which is quite alarming phenomenon. However, responding to the sense of duty to preserve this natural asset, many artists have taken up to devote their energies, capabilities and imaginary powers to put the natural beauty into their art work, be it painting or through ceramic pieces of work.
This is really an appreciable endeavor on the part of our contemporary landscape artists and it requires us to have better understanding of how these artists perceive the importance of landscape, what is the value of landscapes for artists. and how they are doing their work to preserve it through their artistic works.
For this purpose, I have selected two contemporary landscape artists how have done marvellous work in ceramics and who have a promising future in front of them. The common thing in both of the artists is that they derive their inspiration from rural side, from rivers, dripping water, mountains and rocks and other such things which the ordinary people fail to realize how charming these things are. The other common thing between the landscape artists is their faith in nature. For them, the landscape is more precious than the material gains and the worldly possessions.