Reference Materials

"Landscape may be represented by painting, drawing or engraving; by photography, film and theatrical scenery; by writing, speech, and presumably even music and other 'sound images'. Before all these secondary representations, however, landscape is itself a physical and multi-sensory medium (earth, stone, vegetation, water, sky, sound and silence, light and darkness, etc.) in which cultural meanings and values are encoded, whether they are put there by the physical transformation of place …, or found in a place formed, as we say, 'by nature' … Landscape is a medium in the fullest sense of the word. It is a material 'means' (to borrow Aristotle's terminology) like language or paint, embedded in a tradition of cultural signification and communication, a body of symbolic forms capable of being invoked and reshaped to express meaning and values." (Mitchell 1994).


The focus of these documents is the landscape and its representation in visual art, particularly in landscape painting sensu lato.

The principal research question is: “has the landscape genre in art, interpreted in its broadest sense, the capacity to encompass the full complexity of the holistic landscape paradigm as manifest in the contemporary natural and social sciences?”

This question is formulated on the assumption that the artist’s relationship with landscape has remained problematic in a number of ways. It is not surprising that during landscape painting’s “short and fitful history” (Clark 1979) it has failed to fully resolve its relationship with landscape as an entity or a concept. This tension is manifest in the intellectual and emotional struggles apparent in the work of many artists who, either explicitly or implicitly, have engaged in meaningful dialogues with landscape.

It is with these unresolved issues that these documents are concerned. They deconstruct the landscape paradigm in order to investigate these issues separately through more narrowly defined subsidiary research questions. They can be identified as:

("click" title to read document)

Landscape & Space
Landscape & Place
Landscape & Culture
Landscape & Environment
Landscape & Object (nature)
Landscape & Time

Throughout these documents the issues are examined in relation to a "particular landscape" and it's environmental and cultural history. That landscape is the northwest Highlands of Scotland and the Hebrides.

Finally the arguments and points of view discussed are brought to a conclusion in the last document:

Landscape, Reflections & Conclusions