For several years, I have been exploring the landscape as a metaphor for human relationship to environment, culture and heritage. My work attempts to retrieve the scattered fragments of our (white, anglo-celtic immigrant) culture, to revive and reconnect symbols, archetypes and text of our squandered cultural and spiritual inheritance, and to re-establish a connection between our spiritual and actual landscape. Sources include legend and mythology, religious texts, literature, and the landscape and textures of the Royal National Park where l live.
In European cultures the landscape has long been depicted as a metaphor for spiritual experience. In some other cultures, Aboriginal for instance, landscape is more than a metaphor – relationship to environment is an integral part of spiritual life.
While the increasing commodification of land in our materialistic culture has alienated us from other kinds of relationship with it, experience of the preserved natural environment offers an opportunity to re-engage with landscape, seeking both physical connection and spiritual renewal. Each of us has our own ‘sacred sites’ – those places that are embedded in our lives, and associated with a sense of rapture, of connection to a realm beyond the mundane.
I propose that seeking the idyllic equates to the search for a spiritual relationship to land, and that in the context of a culture whose edifices and lifestyles serve generally to alienate its residents from the ‘natural’ in their environment, we experience an intrinsic and chronic hunger for the kind of archetypal and meaningful experience of nature and place that we see expressed by indigenous cultures.