It seems that nowadays artists are no longer limiting themselves to representing their surroundings by simply sketching or photographing them, exactly as they are. Contemporary art is now promoting a new concept, that encourages the artist to interpret their surroundings and depict them in their own unique way ‘- a concept known as, Scape.
”Scape’ is rapidly becoming more popular than ever in contemporary art, which I believe is due to its diversity and the ability it gives artists to ”escape’ into their own worlds; real or not ‘- and represent it, in their own unique way.
With scape, the artist has no limitations and is offered more freedom for self expression ‘- artworks can be based upon imagination, dream or reality and are often greatly influenced by the artists own beliefs and perceptions.Order now
The different ways in which scape is represented therefore are infinite. The only real boundary on the way in which scape can represented is the artists imagination and own choice ‘- while some artists may choose to portray their surroundings in a more abstract way, others may simply choose to sketch, for example, a mountain.
Scape also enables the viewer the opportunity to better interpret what the artist feels about their surroundings Ð’- i.e. if the artist perceives something in a negative way, we can almost surely conclude that the way in which they portray that something, will be in a negative manner (using dark colours, distorting etc.)
This form of art is very easily manipulated, so as to represent what the artist wants according to his/her perceptions, beliefs, ideologies etc. An example of this can be seen in Brett Whiteley’s, Van Gough inspired, Night Cafe”© (1972).
Whiteley studied Van Gough for a number of years and he says that during this period of his life as an artist his perceptions of his surroundings changed significantly, which lead him to create the Van Gough inspired series. Brett Whiteley’- Night Cafe”© (1972) Oil on board
Art Gallery of NSW
He took a scene, with a pool table and cafe”© like setting, altered the lines to create the illusion that they were all heading to a single vanishing point and gave all the light sources in the scene (street lamps etc) a circular glow. Giving an obvious Van Gough resemblance and an overall effect of a very “fast moving, vibrant and dynamic image” (the colour choice adds to this also).
As you can see from this example of a Contemporary scape artist, the surroundings that Whiteley chose to portray, were manipulate to represent his own perceptions and love of Van Gough’s work, to create a ‘scape’ piece that is therefore very unique and personal. Proving just how diverse ‘scape’ is, and the numerous ways in which it can be represented; depending on the artists own choice.
This work was not influenced by personal beliefs or experiences as such, but still gives a good example of how ‘scape’ work can be represented in different ways, influenced by what the artist’s like’s and dislike’s are ‘- i.e. Whiteley ‘Liked’ Van Gough’s work, and therefore his surroundings were influenced by that.
Another example of ‘scape’, which has much more influence from personal ideologies, is Christo and Jean-Claude’s Wrapped Trees (1997). There artwork is largely based on temporality; with piece usually only lasting around 15 days.
In Wrapped Trees, specialised fabric covers were measured and made for hundreds of trees and were then draped and fastened over them. Adding, what the husband-wife team said, “a sense of vulnerability, fragility and urgency” to their artwork, as it could only last for a limited time.
The couple have a love of ‘what will not last’ and the unknown; and are fascinated with the ways in which humans cherish and strive to protect things that are on a time limit (eg. Life, childhood), and they want their art to have that same effect on people whilst “Creating a gentle disturbance” (Christo) by creating there impermanent artworks in places no one would expect.
As you can see, again, an artists personal ideologies tend to shape and influence the ways in which they choose to represent their art ‘- and scape allows them to do this easily and effectively. Christo and Jean-Claude go for a more hands on approach to representing their views of scape, and is just one more of the numerous ways in which an artist may choose to do so.
“Christo and Jean-Claude’s work makes me think about both art and the environment in a new and unexpected way.”