February 10, 2004

on the road to....

I'm on the road for a few days. I will be in Canberra. So posting will probably be light. Hopefully I will be to post. What I've decided to do is explore the work of Mandy Martin whilst I'm on the road. I can post bits as part of a little series.

Mandy Martin,Landscape with Fisherman after Salvator Rosa, 2002, From the Salvator Rosa Series

A renewed romanticism that highlights the extraordinary features of landscapes -- chasms, precipices and rocky prominences ---of the Salvator Rosa section of the Carnarvon National Park in South West Queensland:
Mark Nemeth, Salvator Rosa Sunrise
The park was so named after the 17th century Italian history painter because of its rugged and gothic features, by the explorer Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1848.

Mitchell is probably referring to Rosa's innovative, rugged landscapes rather than the religious or historical subjects of his history painting. Is the reference to the craggy sandstone outcrops?

In the park the spring-fed Nogoa River and Louisa Creek wind through a picturesque broad valley beneath the craggy sandstone outcrops in the Salvator Rosa Section of Carnarvon National Park. At the western edge of central Queensland’s sandstone belt, Salvator Rosa contains deeply eroded and spectacular rock formations, such as Spyglass Peak and the Sentinel, which dominate the skyline. Were these rock formations what reminded Mitchell of Salvator Rosa's landscapes? Such as:
Salvator Rosa, Bandits on a Rocky Coast,

It would not have been the eucalypt woodland and open forest, which covers most of the park; or the spectacular wildflower displays in spring, or the 10 of the park’s recorded 300 plant species being rare or threatened.

Another example of the work of Rosa:
Salvator Rosa, Harbour with Ruins, 1640-43

These two paintings are a long way from the Salvator Rosa section of the Carnarvon National Park in South West Queensland. Mitchell was seeing the Australian landscape through the visual conventions of the romantic eye. Deploying this convention was the colonial way to make the new, comprehensible to eyes unfamiliar with these strange landscapes. This form of nostalgia for the European home became a way to connect the old European world with the new Australian world.

Martin is revisiting this way of seeing:
Mandy Martin, This Eldorado of pure recognition and desert of pure non-recognition, Salvador Rosa Series 1---1998

She is exploring the way romanticism has contributed to our visual culture. The key category is the sublime, which is recoded in Australia as a remote and rugged wilderness.

Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at February 10, 2004 05:35 PM | TrackBack
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