With the opening of the Fleurieuscapes exhibition at Magpie Springs done and dusted I have had bit of time to set up the various project galleries on the website properly. They now need to have more images added to the projects and I have started working on the Adelaide galleries, which are here, here and here.
I have also had time to begin to think about the Fleurieuscapes project and how I have been approach the work to date and where it needs to go. I have avoided the pastoral and the picturesque modes of the nineteenth century by concentrating on the formal aspects of the landscape. It is difficult to avoid the reduction of the landscape to a stereotype of bright sunshine and scattered gum trees in the high summer.
Admittedly, bright sunshine and scattered gum trees does break with the English pastoral of the Heidelberg School –the homestead paddocks with milking cows casting long shadows in early morning or twilight, as they grazed in cool temperate pasture of the Heidelberg School. The land had been successfully tamed by the settlers, and at Federation, they were celebrating their British moorings and their Anglo-Saxon heritage.
The picturesque mode relishes light and shadow, texture of grass, antiquated fences, dappled shaded cows. The picturesque was a European (English) aesthetic and Australian art was non-European and ‘unpicturesque’. This European landscape art is predicated on a widespread desire for disinterested enjoyment that precludes the direct lived engagement premised on an understanding of the actual ecology of places. It is predicted on an ‘outsider’s perspective’, rather than the experience of someone who lives in that particular place.