University of Tasmania

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posted on 2023-05-26, 16:38 authored by Jones, Patrick
I initially started to look at Chinese landscape painting when it was suggested that my paintings looked and felt vaguely similar to traditional Chinese painting. The more I looked and read about these images the more I felt myself drawn to them. Apart from the obviously impressive painterly qualities I was impressed by the self-evident belief in the relevance of their painting not only on a cultural level but as a means to self discovery and enlightenment. These paintings meant something to both artist and viewer and the contemplation and understanding of nature (landscape) were a key to this understanding. For a long time I had been bemoaning the fact that landscape in art today seemed to be dismissed as a 19th century irrelevancy when it most definitely was not to me. Here was a chance to look at a time when the landscape was of utmost importance to the wellbeing of a culture, to understand what it was that made this the case, and to see if what I myself was obtaining from the landscape had any precedent and ultimately, I suppose, any relevance to the late 20th century. Having said this, I myself have serious problems with the vast majority of today's landscape painting which seems not to be about the land but rather an idea of what the land might be or mean. There is no serious involvement with the land itself which is neatly packaged away as 'a construct of the mind'. Chinese art, especially of the Sung period, seemed at least to be acknowledging that something could be learnt from interaction with the land. This is how I felt myself to be relating to the land; I needed physically to be in it in order to experience it. I have decided to concentrate on several works from the Northern and Southern Sung periods. I have limited myself to these six as they seem to me to be representative of the general style of this time. In an essay of this length it seems preferable to concentrate in some depth on the main styles of painting rather than to skim over many of them, while including the transitional paintings, those reviving previous styles and those individualists working in isolation from mainstream culture. I intend to provide a brief background to the Sung period in its historical context while drawing attention to the cultural relevance of landscape painting at this time.




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Copyright 1991 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.F.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1992. Includes bibliographical references

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