“Overlook, Grand Canyon”
“What a great view!”
How many of us have exclaimed these four words on one or more occasions? Probably most of us. How many have stopped to think about what specific aspects of the scene we were standing in front of inspired the comment in the first place? Probably fewer. Yet chances are, there were many similar qualities in what we were each responding to. It was probably an outdoor scene. We probably were able to see a far distance with few obstructions. We were probably in an elevated position that allowed us to “survey” the landscape in front of us.
“Yosemite (After Bierstadt),” Pigmented Inkjet Print
We tend to assume that the qualities that make a scene a great view are self-evident, somehow innate to human perception. They are written into the structures that dictate so much of our interaction with the landscape, from the most popular spots at National Parks to the ubiquitous roadside “Scenic Overlook.” Despite how ingrained these views are in our collective consciousness, they are not innate, but carefully constructed and written into the landscape to engender particular ideologies that are tied up in national identity as well as a host of commercial and individual interests.
“Topographies 1,” 4 Pigmented Inkjet Prints
The landscape is ultimately one of the most politicized entities of our time. It is the backdrop against which so many narratives and other types of power struggles play out. Ultimately, these narratives become inseparable from the place itself. This intersection of narrative and place, in which the lines that designate where one ends and the other begins become obliterated with time, is at the heart of what motivates my work as an artist. What better setting than the Southwest, a part of the country steeped in these land-based narratives, to discuss this? What better place than Yuma? I look forward to seeing you all there!
See more of Colin Blakely's work HERE