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Curiosities and contradictions : a printmaker's exploration of environmental concerns using historically derived imagery

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Rees-Pagh, Yvonne Diana 2007 , 'Curiosities and contradictions : a printmaker's exploration of environmental concerns using historically derived imagery', Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The project investigates the role of artwork as a medium with the potential to stimulate
environmental awareness. The initial research focuses on ideas and visual imagery
sourced from the Wunderkammer, cabinets of curiosities and natural history illustration,
towards embracing them in my printmaking. My own perception of nature is not a
utopian one. I am always conscious of the point where human endeavour touches and
disrupts the natural world, causing some form of change. My work, in trying to address
these changes to the natural world, uses the Wunderkammer as a metaphoric device
to provoke thought on the process of environmental change, providing the opportunity
to reflect on the permanence of loss, and perhaps the profound personal urge to
recover the irretrievable.

The investigation follows on to examine selected contemporary artists whose work
addresses environmental concerns, or who have been influenced by the phenomena of
the above investigations. In the pivotal area of nature, art and environmental issues I
discuss the Finnish artist Osmo Rauhala, whose work strongly addresses ecological
concerns. The influence of the Wunderkammer is explored in the work of Mark Dion,
Kiki Smith and Rosamund Purcell. The picturing of natural history and influence of
historic natural history illustration is examined in the work of Walton Ford and Philip
Taaffe. All of these artists are influenced by their own cultural background and personal
concerns.

My printmaking for the project employs multi-layering combined with expressive mark
making and surfacing. It is a process of transformation that brings together elements of
time, memory, creation, distortion and obliteration. The work develops from abstraction
to a more narrative style through the superimposition of imagery drawn from my
research. The layered images work in opposition to one another, setting up visual
responses where relationships, despite ambiguity, are open for interpretation.
The final presentation employs the Wunderkammer analogy as a strategy for display.
The works are assembled in a 'cabinet of curiosity' configuration, the intent being to
juxtapose the individual works in order to increase ambiguity, and create an added
sense of wonder and awe. My overall purpose is to provide a visual stimulation that will
be both aesthetic and provocative.

Item Type: Thesis - Unspecified
Authors/Creators:Rees-Pagh, Yvonne Diana
Keywords: Nature in art, Environment (Art), Cabinets of curiosities
Copyright Holders: The Author
Additional Information:

Available for library use only and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. CD-ROM contains accompanying images. Thesis (MFA)--University of Tasmania, 2007. Includes bibliographical references

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