Art Review, March 1996
I've been interested in landscape and landscape art virtually
since I can remember. My earliest experience of painting was going
to Oldham Art Gallery when I was about 13. Then the paintings that
most impressed me were the landscapes in the Lees Collection - Turner,
Constable, de Wint. The next pictures to really fire me up were
the Zen landscapes of Sesshu and Sengai and after that the raucous
seascapes of de Kooning.
From the mundane to the sublime, landscape art is a continuous
thread throughout history woven into the fabric of how we think
and feel. While styles may come and go, they also mirror profound
changes in the way we perceive our environment.
In the light of present day environmental issues, landscape art
has an increasing relevance that transcends stylistic variations
and critical contentions. The intrinsic connection between, say,
19th century watercolours and a modern conceptualist like James
Turrell has always seemed pretty easy to grasp. It is that same
feeling of being confronted by the awesome scale and sense of the
absolute of nature that compels artists to try to catch that elusive
moment where the mystery of the landscape reflects their inner feelings,
and then try to make it their own.