"Landscape," whether we understand it as referring to the lived country or to the created work, is always a matter of active involvement and experience. It may sometimes, as a form of art or a theoretical concept, arise out of a feeling of separation or an experience of dislocation, but our involvement with landscape, and so with the places that are found within it, is fundamental to the way we find ourselves in the world. In our engagement with landscape through art we also, therefore, engage with our own mode of being in the world. In the case of an artist like John Glover, this engagement with the landscape is, as I noted earlier, evident in his art in important and surprising ways. Glover's Tasmanian work takes on a character that is not matched by European landscape of the same period—having originally worked within the format of the Claudean "picturesque," Glover's Tasmanian paintings develop a character that appears quite distinctive.

In the very late painting, "Cawood" on the Ouse River, from 1838, we see a landscape that, as David Hansen points out, is not merely the transplantation of the English or European to the Southern hemisphere, but instead offers a new and open, and more idiosyncratically "antipodean" vision. [37] There is no doubt that one can find political or even ideological elements in this work (if my argument is correct, then such elements will be inevitable); but there is also a new experience, a new set of possibilities, a new "world" that is presented to us.

In the encounter with landscape, and with place through landscape, we do not merely encounter something apart from ourselves, but rather we come into contact with the place in and through which we ourselves come into being. As the contemporary landscape and new media artist Char Davies says of her immersive virtual environments Osmose (1995) and Ephémère (1998),

"I see [them] as a means of return, i.e., of facilitating a temporary release from our habitual perceptions and culturally-biased assumptions about being in the world, to enable us, however momentarily, to perceive ourselves and the world around us freshly." [38]

Davies's "virtual" landscapes thus function to reengage us with the world rather than separate us from it, although they do so through an engagement with a landscape that is indeed created by means of digital technology. Landscape as it appears in Davies's work is thus very different from previous traditions of landscape art—very different from the art we encounter in Glover's work—and yet it is nonetheless continuous with it. [39] Moreover, inasmuch as part of what occurs in landscape art, including art such as that of both Davies and Glover, is the exploration and representation of our own interaction, and our mutual constitution, in and through place, so such art is concerned with the fundamental character of what it is to be human as well as of the nature of place itself.



What, then, of the "problem" of landscape to which I referred at the beginning of this chapter? The contemporary Tasmanian artist Jonathan Kimberley writes of landscape that

The term "landscape" is symbolic of an outmoded cultural paradigm, and is no longer adequate to describe the complexity of relationships that people have with place in Australia. Something more reciprocal exists at the interstices and intersections of landscape and non-landscape conceptions of place. [40]

Kimberley's comments reflect a widespread view of landscape among many contemporary artists and critics—not least of whom is perhaps W. J. T. Mitchell. [41] It is, however, a view of landscape that I would, to some extent, contest.

The problem of landscape arises precisely because landscape, whether it appears in literary or painterly form, whether thought of in terms of the presented or that which presents, is indeed a function, and a representing, of our relationship with place. Is the term "landscape" inadequate to describe the complexity of that relationship? If we treat landscape purely in terms of the narrowly spectatorial and the detached (or as associated with a single historical formation or artistic genre), then perhaps it is. Yet the argument I have advanced here is that this conception of landscape is itself inadequate to describe the complexity of landscape as such. The problem of landscape is thus that landscape represents to us, not only our relationship with place, but also the problematic nature of that relationship—a relationship that contains within it involvement and separation, agency and spectacle, self and other. It is in and through landscape, in its many forms, that our relationship with place is articulated and represented, and the problematic character of that relationship made evident. In this respect, the continued engagement with landscape, including that by artists such as Kimberley, is indicative of its continuing significance, even if the mode of that engagement—its style and conventions—has changed, and even if the meaning of "landscape" as a term of artistic practice can no longer be taken for granted.

In a painting such as Glover's Mount Wellington and Hobart Town from Kangaroo Point, both the problematic character of landscape and its continuing significance are revealed to us through the way in which what appears there, whether deliberately presented or implicitly invoked, encompasses a multiplicity of perspectives—the real and the imagined, the present and the absent, the remote and the near, the remembered and the forgotten—rendered into the singleness of a view. In such a painting—such a work of pictorial representation—we are presented not merely with something that stands apart from us, but, if we choose to attend to what is there, with a mode of relatedness in which we are inextricably implicated; not merely the simple appearance of a single place, but something of the complex working of placedness as such—something of the complex and multiple happening of landscape. Landscape is indeed like revelation: like revelation, landscape draws things together, connects them, allows them to appear; like revelation, landscape also hides things, removes them, obscures them from view; like revelation, landscape is both singular crystal and the remotest things. Landscape is where we find, and also lose, ourselves.



37. See David Hansen, "The Life and Work of John Glover," p. 227; see also p.98.
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38. Char Davies, "Virtual Space," in Space: In Science, Art, and Society, ed. Francois Penz, Gregory Radick, and Robert Howell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 69.
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39. Davies's current work continues the concern with landscape, but whereas previously her work had focused on the creation of immersive virtual landscapes, it is the very land itself, and especially the land comprising the property that she has named "Reverie," that is her main focus. Although Davies sees her own work as aiming to shift our engagement with landscape away from a narrowly spectatorial perspective, and on to a fully immersive engagement, it can also be read, in the manner I read it here, as a rethinking of landscape as such, and a demonstration of its continuing significance.
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40. Kimberley, Jonathan Kimberley—Ur-Landscape: Post-Landscape (Blue Tier), exhibition catalog (Hobart: Bett Gallery, 2005).
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41. Kimberley's comments can be seen to echo Mitchell's claim (in "Imperial Landscape," in Mitchell, Landscape and Power, p. 5) that "Landscape is an exhausted medium, no longer viable as a mode of artistic expression" (Thesis 8 in the "Theses on Landscape" with which Mitchell's essay begins), although Mitchell also makes clear that the term "landscape" as it figures in this claim means "a particular historical formation associated with European imperialism" (Thesis 6). One way of reading Mitchell's position is to take it as actually rendering uncertain the very idea of landscape—in spite of the historical specificity that he also takes to be associated with it. Thus, rather than say that "landscape" is now an empty term, one might ask what landscape might now mean given the exhaustion of landscape as "a particular historical formation associated with European imperialism."
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