Ungrounding Landscape

Ungrounding Traditional Landscapes

21 Jun 2018

It is my contention that the physical elements of the canvas and the frame that holds and supports the image of a painting are as implicated in the construction of symbolic meaning as the representation of it. Hence, to deconstruct the complicit meaning one must remove the painting completely from its supporting systems – which I do by peeling my paintings off their supporting structures. My work explores ways of reimagining the landscape by literally removing it from its ground, deconstructing traditional Western landscape painting by:

Liberating the surface layer

In traditional painting methods paint is usually applied to a physical ground, for example wood, canvas, linen, a wall or any other physical object. This ground operates as a base upon which the paint can function as a painting, and this substratum is part of the final art object. My paintings are liberated from the supporting ground and function as an independent surface layer that becomes the artwork/painting.

Artificial nature

My paintings underscore traditional Western landscape painting’s highly artificial nature (its inclusion and exclusion of certain elements within a frame) by focusing on the materiality of acrylic paint as a type of plastic – an artificial material synonymous with ideas of fakeness.

Plants without ground

My work focusses specifically on plants and the enormous regenerative benefits and ecological support they provide in and to the natural environment. In my paintings, however, the plants lack the substrate of the land, separated as they are from their ground.

The painter takes the role of landscaper

After the dried paint is removed from the substratum it is ‘landscaped’ in an exhibition space. As in a garden,1 the paintings are arranged to simulate elements of nature.

‘Planting’ ideas

The double meaning of the term ‘planting’ relates both to the act of gardening and to the function of camouflage, where the intention is to conceal something that is planted within a setting for some purpose. In my work there is a blurring of boundaries, a deliberate confluence between what is and what is not.

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