There must be as many points of view, interpretations and definitions of ‘landscape’ as there are people. The farmer, the property developer, the holidaymaker and the conservationist are unlikely to have an agreed concept of landscape, though they might all be referring to the same piece of land. For myself, landscape is my felt connection with the earth, and of being a part of it all. It is my home: the context in which I reside – quite literally, the ground of my being.
It is opening my window to the cool morning air; green fields and clusters of little houses spread out below, against a backdrop of water, sand and sky. It is the distant cry of a curlew in the setting sun. Or out in the woods, it is a gust of wind making dry branches crackle overhead, sending down a shower of gold leaves. And there are other landscapes – landscapes of memory and imagination – places where I have lived, and mountains, deserts, forests, polar regions…. And landscapes that I have never directly experienced, but know through recorded sound, imagery or literature. All these combine to give me a sense of belonging and identity.
In the exhibition: ‘The Great Purpose’, which is just about to open at the Art Pavilion, Mile End, London, artists respond to the quote: “The great purpose of landscape art is to make us at home in our own country” (from The Group of Seven, a group of early 20th century Canadian painters). The accompanying website www.greatpurpose.co.uk, contains information on everyone taking part, so if you cannot get to the show itself, you will for sure get a flavour of the range of responses to this fascinating theme. I will try to get photos!
See also my recent post: ‘The Great Purpose of Landscape Art…’ .