|dc.description.abstract||The best of landscape painting draws itself from a layer of meaning in
life which is rooted in specific and regional experience. The best painters are
endowed with an awareness that permits them to penetrate the skin of regional
experience, allowing them to disentangle the experiences that are common
to all. In Saskatchewan, as elsewhere, and particularly amongst landscape
painters, geopiety, "the broad range of emotional bonds between man and his
terrestrial home," often provides the emotional force behind this awareness.
Our feelings and responses are tied to our experience of homeland and
consequently are inescapably linked to our struggles in art.
In geopious terms, landscape painting of this province can be divided
into two broad traditions: a tradition of earth painting which involves the
contemplation of nature as a source of inspiration, and a tradition of world
painting in which the landscape becomes a means in the discovery of the nature
of man and the world human beings have created. In reality there are probably
degrees of both earth and world encountered in any painting experience.
However, landscape painters of the generation of which I am a part are perched
upon a cusp between earth and world. They feel the pull of opposing tides:
the compulsion to explore images and symbols tied to human struggle, and the
compulsion and impetus found in the predominant tradition of earth painting
which distrusts the notion of a distinction existing between the nature of nature
and the nature of man.
An undercurrent of fear of provincialism also lurks behind each tradition,
a threat of ethnocentricity: the belief in a closed and fixed system of existence
which limits the human horizon. In the discussion of landscape painting in this
province the notions of provincialism and regionalism have become blurred.
One is often considered the result of the other and the two terms are often
viewed as interchangeable. I hope to establish that provincialism exists not
as a result of regional and specific experience but out of an inflexibility within
society itself. Further, even as artists attempt flight from what they perceive
as the shadow of provincialism, through an abandonment of homeland, they
inescapably do so from within the perspective of that homeland. Art is a process
of the unfolding of the unfamiliar, a delimiting and expanding of society's
threshold for discovery. Landscape painting has the potential to precipitate
this process because of its close link to nature, the mother of our sense of reality
and survival of our species. It is also an important force in the discovery of
world, inescapably carrying with it our responses and feelings towards home.||en_US