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Towards a Polytheistic Relationship to Landscape: Issues for Contemporary Art

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The paper examines the concerns of the art critic and environmentalist Rebecca Solnit with the myth of Eden in the book of Genesis, the assumptions of a Judaeo-Christian monotheism and its secular inheritance, as a means to introduce the need for a 'polytheistic' psychology to advance a genuinely radical understanding of the relationship between issues of place, identity and contemporary landscape art. Drawing on the work of Peter Bishop and Edward S. Casey to identify a body of thinking related, via issues of metamorphosis and ambiguity, to both art historical and geographical contexts relating to a 'conversational' aesthetic are identified. This is seen as making possible a polytheistic conception of art based on imaginal space as an alternative to the dominant traditions of conceptual and Minimal art since the 1960s. Finally, the approaches of specific artists, and in particular the world of Sian Bonnell, are examined in relation to garden traditions in the UK.
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Keywords: Landscape; art; identity; polytheism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Art, Media and Design University of the West of England Bristol UK

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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