Presenter: Prof. David Crouch

Title: The fluidity of the thing we call landscape

Abstract: This presentation combines a consideration of the art work, particularly the paintings, of Peter Lanyon, currently showing [2015-6] at Tate Modern London, with a critical approach to the limitations of Designed ‘landscapes’. Both Lanyon and another subject of my interest, allotment holders cultivate spaces Lanyon even referred to his rhythms of gardening as bearing similarities with the rhythms of wielding a brush at a large canvas. Much more than that occurs. Making a painting can be making a landscape; plotholders do the same. My interest in allotments grew from an impatience with work in geography during the 1980s when landscape equated particular early periods of formalised landscape painting and the landscaped gardens of the wealthy. Two landscapes that I equate here are focused in understanding landscape as our sensuous, felt expressive poetics of being alive and doing and emerging in a nuanced, complex and interrupted atmosphere of their relationships with earth, other life, human beings in their own creativity. Lanyon, not only in his paintings of flight but in his work through the 1960s, and people who tend a plot work landscape through what they do, both metaphorically and materially. The landscape, changing as any other, is fluid, part-instructed and part in a commingling in their atmospheres. The paper thus considers a wider ‘frame’ of how landscape occurs and is conveyed in people’s voices.

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