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Event Details

27-28 September 2016 | Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth | FREE
Click here to view the symposium program

An international symposium organised by the Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and the Visual Arts, University of Western Australia, the Art Gallery of Western Australia and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

This two-day symposium with leading scholars from America, Australia and Europe will provide innovative intercultural exchange on aesthetic and environmental issues prompted by thirty original American and Australian nineteenth-century landscape paintings brought together in Continental Shift (30 July 2016 - 5 February 2017), an exhibition from the collections of the Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.

The focus will be on the vexed relationship between environmental change and aesthetic innovation as colonial settlements supplanted indigenous territories and wilderness across both countries. Eighteen years after the pioneering exhibition New Worlds From Old: 19th Century Australian & American Landscapes took place at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra,* this symposium revisits its themes from the new perspective of Anthropocenic studies that have revolutionised disciplinary relations between the sciences and the humanities in recent years. Speakers will explore the complex relationship between clearing the land, celebrating settlement and worshipping the sublimity of nature through a genre of art that with various degrees of optimism and anxiety developed uniquely materialist potentialities and new methods of distribution and display for reinterpreting the environmental, literary, religious, scientific, perceptual, economic, indigenous, conservationist, technical, military and geo-political relations of colonial modernity in both countries.

Speakers include Professor David Peters Corbett (Courtauld Institute, London and University of East Anglia), Associate Professor Rachael Z. DeLue (Princeton University), Dr David Hansen (Australian National University), Professor Kenneth Haltman (University of Oklahoma), Chris Pease (Western Australian artist), Dr Ruth Pullin (Independent Scholar), Emeritus Professor Richard Read, symposium convener (University of Western Australia) and Professor Cathy Speck (University of Adelaide).

Members of the public, students and postgraduate students are particularly welcome to attend.

* Julie K. Brown, review (2000), New Worlds from Old: 19th Century Australian and American Landscape Paintings, exhibition (1998): ‘Placing the art of these countries side by side should be seen not as a finished statement, but the first phase of a much larger project, the beginning of a new dialogue for cultural historians of both countries.’

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Event Location


Art Gallery of WA

Perth Cultural Centre, Perth, Western Australia, 6000

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