The Constructed Forest: Weaving Landscape, Pattern and Ideas in Contemporary Art

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Porch, Debra

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Woodrow, Ross

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2012
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Abstract

This research is relevant to the broader discussion of how culture and nature interact, by analysing and demonstrating how artworks can shed light on the ideas that contribute to longstanding and culturally deep-rooted attitudes to nature. The project questions if artworks can simultaneously trigger and blend ideas that are, in Western art, associated with either the natural or the cultural so as to erode categorical distinctions. This exegesis examines the ways concepts of nature and culture have played out in artworks over time, focusing on the Western motif of the forest. It explores how contemporary Australian artists have offered platforms to explain aspects of the complex relationship between people and their environment. This research investigates how the visual language of artworks (in particular, motifs, aesthetic conventions, and scale) can clarify how cultural ideas and values have been overlaid on the natural environment of the forest. It examines how traditional ideas of culture and nature are organised into strands of meaning that act as connective threads, linking the past and present. In contemporary artworks, these strands are woven together with new ideas to offer alternative ways of visualising the relationship between culture and nature. The resulting artworks give voice to ideas that transgress the traditional limits of culture and nature categories, thus shifting meanings and blurring boundaries.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

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Queensland College of Art

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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Public

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Subject

Culture and nature interaction

Western motif of the forest

Contemporary artworks

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