Bitumen networks and river paths
thesisposted on 2023-05-27, 00:19 authored by Baumgartner, DC
The premise of my investigation is that a perceptual break takes place between driving along the highway, experiencing the landscape at high speed and then stopping to experience the highway outside the enclosure and protection of the vehicle. Landscape exists in a state of flux defined and augmented by changing relationships between nature, technology and perceptions of place in the universe. I think in terms of landscape imagery ‚ÄövÑvÆ particularly the picturesque ‚ÄövÑvÆ when I view natural environments. The roadside environment was selected as the site for this investigation because of its metaphorical capacity to represent a perceptual break in experiencing the environment. As a space it is littered with animal carcasses and roadside detritus, which when passed at close range during highway travel is easily overlooked. In this project I interrupt drives to look at what animal has fallen victim to traffic. In doing so I experience different perspectives on car travel and the roadside environment as well as temporarily providing a remedy for the apathy that the modern car interior induces. In recognising, dissecting and exploring the various tropes of landscape painting, I have attempted to interrogate the way cultural conventions shape our capacity to see and imagine the environment. By choosing the roadside as the place for this break, I provide a catalyst for revitalising the way that I see and think about the natural world and introduce my own comment on the language of landscape. The idea of a break in perception is explored in three parts in the exegesis which establishes a narrative from which the central ideas can be explored. These are: the specific links between car travel and picturesque landscape imagery; the break in perception and the many objects discovered on the roadside through reference to Vanitas (a reminder of the transience of life and the certainty of death encouraging a sombre world view) and the allegorical possibilities that the roadside elements might hold for a personal visual language; and the alienating character of many roadside spaces lending itself to Surreal readings and illusionism. The work consists of a tripartite exploration using drawing, pinhole photography and the integration of these media to inform the paintings that represent the visual outcome of the investigation.
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