The Power Institute with Sydney Ideas is pleased to present a lecture by American art specialist Rachael DeLue, that considers the significance of the shoreline in the work of prominent nineteenth century Australian and American artists.
Defined as the line where a body of water meets the land, a shoreline is a space of contact, marking the point of convergence between different terrains, peoples, and ecosystems. Shorelines also engender diverse forms of knowledge, including the outer limits of nation states, the geologic history of the earth, or the effect of climate change on global sea levels. Depending on one’s point of view, a shoreline can be a beginning or an end, a view in or a view out, a frontier or a familiar place. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, landscape artists in Australia and the United States regularly depicted the shoreline, often from the point of view of someone standing on solid ground, gazing across rocks and sand towards the sea. These are strange landscape images, for they consist of views that look away from the land, displacing terra firma in favor of watery expanses. Such a reconfiguration of the landscape genre raises a host of questions. What cultural, economic, scientific, or socio-political associations compelled the shoreline’s repeated depiction in art? How did shoreline landscapes configure the colonial project? What did it mean to paint from the inside looking out, as if to reverse the trajectory of colonisation by adopting the point of view of belonging, of already being there? Who or what is on the edge in this geo-political fairy tale? And what stories might these shoreline scenes tell us today, in the age of the Anthropocene?
Rachael Z. DeLue is Associate Professor of art history at Princeton University. She specializes in the history of American art and visual culture, with particular focus on intersections among art, science, and the history and theory of knowledge. She is currently at work on a study of Charles Darwin’s diagram of evolution in On the Origin of Species as well as a book about impossible images. She serves as the editor-in-chief of the Terra Foundation Essays as well as the editor of Picturing (2016), the first volume in the series. Publications include George Inness and the Science of Landscape (2004), Landscape Theory (2008, co-edited with James Elkins), and Arthur Dove: Always Connect (2016).
Date: 13th October 2016, 6.00pm – 7.30pm
Venue: Mills Lecture Theatre 209, RC Mills Building, Fisher Road, The University of Sydney Camperdown Campus
Free with online registrations required here