Representing Landscape – Exploring the continuum between Realism and Abstraction

In art, there is no solid line between realism and abstraction, rather, they exist on a continuum which has been explored by various artists and art movements throughout the past one hundred and fifty years.

Every work of art – whether strictly realistic, completely abstracted, or somewhere in between – is built upon certain aesthetic devices such as value, colour, composition, shape or the texture of the material itself. In a representational work these aesthetic devices are firmly attached to the subject, giving it the descriptive structure necessary to be perceived as the actual subject. But, as the work becomes more abstract, the narrative subject becomes less obvious and the visual experience shifts increasingly towards the aesthetic devices themselves.

In this project the artist has been exploring the representation of landscape on a continuum between Realism and Abstraction in order to aid development of a personal visual language.

The artist has worked at various points on the continuum in a variety of media, exploring the practice and processes involved to inform his own practice.

With acknowledgement to the history of landscape representation in Western Art, and a life-long love of countryside, the images here represent a small part of this personal exploratory journey.

All images were developed from sketches and photographs taken on walks in the Dorset countryside from May to December 2020 during Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.