Unscene presents eleven artists who make idiosyncratic engagements with our increasingly pluralistic concept of landscape. Working in photography, painting, installation, sculpture, the Internet, sound and digital printmaking, the artists included in Unscene demonstrate that the concept of landscape and its contexts are slowly but surely being transformed through evermore technical negotiations.
Gordon Cheung's 'textscapes' are derived from a form of landscape painting but replace paint with collage made from world maps or stock share listings. These text filled canvases suggest vistas that slip past our vision as we hurry through urban streets, their insistent blur of words urging us to buy, invest, join or participate.
Sarah Dobai's photographs of abandoned overgrown tennis courts are a testimony to the triumph of nature over the obsessive, sanitized order imposed by the hand of man.
Dan Hays's recent paintings present landscapes which have been invaded by fragmented pixillations of digital imagery. These unnerving and disjointed pictures convey an ambivalence to the nature of beauty and propel the viewer into the realms of the uncanny.
Chris Grottick is concerned with interaction between individuals and their environment. His project Photosynthesis includes a series of photographs which document the plants placed in resident's windows, whose flats are overlooking Grossick Park. These images were then projected in the park in an attempt to reconfigure the natural and the artificial.
James Ireland's work refers to the obsessive nature of model making, where the miniature becomes more than just a surrogate for the real. His landscape in a mirror is suggestive of some Norwegian idyll and is no more than an illusion and a hard-won one at that.
Bob Matthews's composite paintings of huts with exotic mountainous backdrops are a combination of new technology and painting. In combining the old and the new he parodies those old alpine panoramas which graced 1950's coffee bars, while at the same time panders to that perennial but hidden yearning for the picturesque.
Helen Maurer presents pristine glass tableaux which are disconcertingly disorientating. By placing objects and glass on overhead projectors she creates images of near photographic quality, which transport the viewer into fairytale worlds of the imagination.
Rob Platt's paintings focus on the rogue elements of landscape. In the otherwise ordered, gridded geometries of the urban landscape his depiction of littered and weed strewn pavements are poignant evocations of our doomed quest to order and control nature.
Carsten Schwesig explores the illusory world of the Internet, where the realities rest on the translations of software of myriad digital pulses which on their own seem chaotic and meaningless.
Helen Sear's recent series of faux landscapes, Grounded, allude to the classical genre of the romantic landscape, yet they rely on digital processing to transform taxidermist's art into topographical tableaux.
Kuri Yorigami's pleated landscape is shaped by its projection onto curtain folds and brings into question the opposition of dwelling vs landscape, yet this becomes annulled as it enters the realm of the virtual.
SCREENING: Unscene Film Show
Sunday 7 April 2002
At Gasworks, at programmed by Lucy Hays
There are very few exceptions to landscape's usual role in the cinema as a backdrop to human agency. The short films presented in this screening have no actors other than the land itself, no narrative other than the natural environment and its relationship to the mechanical eye of the camera. What all these filmmakers have in common, and in common with many of the artists showing painting and photographs in Unscene, is a systematic approach to understanding and framing the landscape. Most of these films were made in the 1960s and 1970s and were made within a conceptual framework more applicable to contemporary practice than to earlier pastoral representations of the landscape in painting and the cinema. The screening will feature work by British experimental film-makers such as Chris Welsby and John Smith, and influential formalists such as Kurt Kren. This event also offers a rare opportunity to see double screen projections of William Raban's Moonshine and Angles of Incidence.
Writer and curator Craig Martin lead a group of students from Archbishop Tenison's School in a discussion around Unscene, the students then produced reviews of the show, some of which are published online here.