There are two reasons for the title of this exhibition. It is a composite of landscape photographs from two successful submissions to the Head On judges; and it shares visions of the natural world with those of the human altered world, in an increasingly arbitrary dichotomy. The two visions are divided by a dissonance of perception on one level, but are semiotically united on another through the use of the word ‘landscape’.
In 1990 George Seddon wrote a piece in Meanjin, in which he posited that landscape came into the English language in the 17th century from the Dutch “landschap”, a painters’ term signifying a specific kind of detached, aesthetic contemplation. It retained this sense into the 19th century, only losing its clarity when the first university course in “landscape architecture” was introduced in America at the turn of the 20th century.
A linguistic confusion has thus arisen, as if “landscape” has the same physical reality as ‘land’ or ‘territory’, rather than the way we look at or imagine that land. Whether what we see works for us depends on the way in which our particular personal experiences are linked to the object of contemplation.
Warren Dawson was a Head On Landscape Finalist in 2015, and his photographs have been published in several online blogs and magazines. In 2015 he was commissioned by a London publisher for a portfolio of photographs for a book, since released, about the changing landscape of Brisbane. The photographs for this exhibition were drawn primarily from his personal Australian regional collections.
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