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2018 SPE Annual Conference: Uncertain Times: Borders, Refuge, Community, Nationhood / Hosted by The University of the Arts

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Martina Shenal

SPE Member since 1999
Member Chapter: Southwest

secondary nature

The conceptual direction of my recent body of work, secondary nature (2012), highlights aspects of human intervention relative to the landscape. As part of a larger, ongoing series entitled Borrowed Views (after the Japanese shakkei), the latter series mirrors the stylized perspective strategies used in traditional eastern landscape painting and seventeenth century Japanese garden design. In the former, vistas are overlaid to influence the way the eye perceives near, middle and far distance; in the latter, a nearby landscape monument is framed within the garden to create a meticulously constructed focal point. I chose the title to draw parallels between the concept of differentiated natures, with references to first nature, following natural laws of instinct, and second nature, learned cultural clues and behaviors. In some sense, I am searching for an idealized landscape on these islands that is reflective of the garden: highly manipulated, tightly controlled and cultivated; offering a mediated interaction with the natural world while contextualizing it within a broader topographical and conceptual framework. Referring simultaneously to the manipulation of nature while acknowledging the inherent limitations of the monocular view through my lens, these images are rendered with the knowledge that they transform and construct their own version of reality.

Mt. Omuro

Omikuji (Prayer tree)

21st century

Suizenji Garden (Fuji-san)

Suizenji Garden (jima)

Izu Peninsula (river path)

Izu Peninsula (walking path)

Kumamoto (line)

Mt. Aso (cairn)

Mt. Aso (shelter)

Mt. Aso (mountain)

Untitled (Izu)

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