Aspiring to the Landscape: On Painting and the Subject of Nature

Aspiring to the Landscape: On Painting and the Subject of Nature

by Petra Halkes


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Aspiring to the Landscape: On Painting and the Subject of Nature by Petra Halkes

The idea of nature as a cultural construction has been discussed extensively in postmodern theory. Less attention, however, has been paid to the underlying motivations shaping the ideologies of nature, in particular the desire to submit to some larger order outside of oneself. Aspiring to the Landscape examines this persistent desire and how it is made manifest in contemporary landscape art.

Four installations of large-scale paintings by Canadian artists Eleanor Bond, Susan Feindel, Stephen Hutchings, and Wanda Koop are the focus of Petra Halkes's study. The works vary widely in style and iconography but are drawn together by the way they invite a reflection on the troubled relationship between culture and nature and our contradictory and simultaneous longing to conquer and to succumb to nature.

It is the tension between modern and postmodern interpretations of the subject of nature that makes the theory and the artwork discussed in Aspiring to the Landscape so important to contemporary Canadian culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802038944
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 05/28/2005
Pages: 270
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.29(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Petra Halkes is an independent curator, painter, and art critic living in Ontario.

Table of Contents

List of Figures



  1. A Longing for the Impossible Place: Wanda Koop’s Paintings for Dimly Lit Rooms and Paintings for Brightly Lit Rooms
  2. The Allegorical Impulse in Stephen Hutchings’s Plants, Bushes, and Hedges
  3. Speaking the Wild: The Apophatic Representation of Nature in Susan Feindel’s Paintings
  4. Cosmoville: The Unmanageable Surfaces of Eleanor Bond’s Rotterdam Paintings

Conclusion (or Beginning): Opening Up the Conversation

Appendix: Artists’ Biographies




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