In a Landscape, Over Time

June 11th, 2021

Far from belonging to a dated genre, landscapes can prompt artists to engage with the embodied, experiential and political qualities of space.

In conversation: Jennifer Colten, Ryan Griffis, Sarah Kanouse

What more can be said about landscape? Reflecting their highly individual approaches, three contributors to The Current, Jennifer Colten, Ryan Griffis, and Sarah Kanouse discuss contemporary artistic and research practices that convene around the subject of landscape, a category rich in history and entangled in more-than-human relations. Whereas landscape painting in the Western tradition progressed by refining the finite view of a single distant observer, current practices are evolving through engagement with social contexts. This must entail a sensitivity to our becoming-with a place, even as visitors, and for us to recognize the agency of its non-human and human inhabitants. A landscape’s apparent naturalness is merely one piece in the puzzle of its history, composed of the relations that span through it. As artists now explore landscape with this relational approach, their practices often coincide with new pedagogies, activism, and alternative knowledge production. What once was subject to omission or romanticization becomes the new focal point: the lives lived, the embodied experiences and the struggles of those inhabiting a place.