Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Today we discussed the similarities between landscape painting and nature writing and the roles of painter and writer. In discussing both paintings and texts, it's worthwhile to consider point of view, perspective, style, and so on. The main point, I think, being that painters and texts are constructions. They been created. A person (the artist/author) has decided what to include and what to exclude (somethings intentionally, somethings subconsciously). One could argue (maybe with the exception of a diary) all paintings/texts and presenting or representing what the artist/author wants us to see.

Our reading was particular to John Constable, the landscape painter. The particular interest being that the University is a piece of what's come to be known as Constable country. He painted Wivenhoe Park (though you might not recognize it from the painting) in the early 19th century.

The reading for this week was full of neologisms courtesy of Edward Casey. My favorite is topomensia, which seems to me to be the power of the painter (author) to layer memory onto the visual landscape.

One idea I subscribe to is that walking in a place/space helps you to get to know it. One idea I'm still pondering is whether you need to have grown up somewhere to know it. I think it must not be true. I grew up in Southern California but I think I know more about some of the places I visited in southwestern Australia. Different types of knowing, for sure. And is it important to have grown up in a place or just important to know a place over a period of time and to approach it with a sense of wonder, curiosity and exploration?

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