Year

2008

Degree Name

Master of Creative Arts - Research

Department

School of Art and Design - Faculty of Creative Arts

Abstract

In this study I will examine the following question: how is my painting informed by a layered sense of place through a political engagement with the environment? During this research consideration was given to the origins, techniques and structures of my creative work that was underpinned by the artistic theories and processes I used while painting the landscape of the Hoskins Nature Reserve and the Bong Bong Common. These areas are situated midway between Bowral and Moss Vale on the Southern Highlands of New South Wales and are approximately 120 kms from the first penal colony established at Port Jackson in 1788. In my thesis I describe the historical background of the protected land and wildlife corridor, Hoskins Nature Reserve, which is managed by N.S.W. Department of Parks and Wildlife and the Bong Bong Common early settlement owned by the Wingecarribee Shire Council. While researching these two historical areas of the Southern Highlands I contacted people with sound environmental and historical knowledge from the NSW Parks and Wildlife rangers at Fitzroy Falls, European representatives from the Aboriginal Reconciliation Group and Dr Kim Leevers through his PhD thesis First Contact/Frontier Expansion in the Wingecarribee area Between 1798 – 1821: Exploration and Analysis (2006). The writings of Australian cultural architect Ken Taylor and Canadian philosopher Allen Carlson’s essay on environmental aesthetics in the Routledge Companion to Aesthetics (2001) were a source of valuable insight into the thesis question. Taylor’s views on ‘landscape as living history’ (Taylor 25) informed a layered sense of place and Carlson provided ‘an emotionally and cognitive engagement with the environment’ (Carlson 433)

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