Degree Name

Doctor of Creative Arts


Faculty of Creative Arts


The marking of the landscape is an expression of desire, an indication of the development of a significant relationship between the marker and the land. This relationship may take the form of clearing the land and establishing boundaries synonymous with colonization or a ritual marking of the land in commemoration of the life cycle, carving a tomb or shelter, building fortifications or simply carving a name in a rock ledge. The reading of marks made by people on the surface of the land reveals successive positioning of individuals and whole cultures within the landscape and unravels to an extent, the history of human desire invested in place.

In contemporary arts practice the landscape and the markings and manipulations it reveals have provided a point of contact for artists concerned with re-establishing their own histories and with gaining a greater understanding of the first relationship in any historical sequence, that between human beings and the natural world.

My thesis and my studio work examine these needs and desires, to know the land, and to sense a past, which can give meaning to a personal process of growth. Through an investigation of the processes of marking, measuring and describing the land, in documenting land markings in my immediate environment of Iron Cove, Sydney, and in experiencing the landscape of my ancestors, in the Boyne Valley, Ireland, I engage with issues of personal identity, the appropriation of the past, and the expression of these concerns in contemporary art practice.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.