Aspiring to the Landscape: On Painting and the Subject of Nature

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University of Toronto Press, 2006 M01 1 - 184 pages
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The idea of nature as a cultural construction has been discussed extensively in postmodern theory. Less attention, however, has been paid to the underlying motivations shaping the ideologies of nature, in particular the desire to submit to some larger order outside of oneself. Aspiring to the Landscape examines this persistent desire and how it is made manifest in contemporary landscape art.

Four installations of large-scale paintings by Canadian artists Eleanor Bond, Susan Feindel, Stephen Hutchings, and Wanda Koop are the focus of Petra Halkes's study. The works vary widely in style and iconography but are drawn together by the way they invite a reflection on the troubled relationship between culture and nature and our contradictory and simultaneous longing to conquer and to succumb to nature.

It is the tension between modern and postmodern interpretations of the subject of nature that makes the theory and the artwork discussed in Aspiring to the Landscape so important to contemporary Canadian culture.


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Wanda Koops Paintings
The Allegorical Impulse in Stephen Hutchingss Plants Bushes
The Apophatic Representation of Nature
The Unmanageable Surfaces of Eleanor Bonds
Opening Up the Conversation

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About the author (2006)

Petra Halkes is an independent curator, painter, and art critic living in Ottawa.

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