Sarah Dugan
Practice 
ARTISTIC STATEMENT

My art practice explores various aspects of landscapes and environments via their cultural, historical and mythological influences, in particularly looking the Australian landscape.
Ross Gibson investigates the relationship between landscape and the individual in Seven Versions of an Australian Badland. He states that human beings make their environments and that experience and reaction of place is defined by culture and history. My interest in this condition stems from my interaction with specific landscapes and an interaction with the narratives of society and history that are interwoven within them. My work investigates how this interpretation of place can affect individuals psychologically. Richard Baker describes landscape as ‘a mental construct as much as a physical reality’.  Our experience of and reaction to a landscape can instill feelings of melancholy, awe, anxiety or even nostalgia via an imaginative construct.

Edward W. Said defines the notion of ‘imaginative geography’, which refers to spaces that have been contrived through the human context that we instill onto the environment. No place or landscape can be experienced or read without individual and cultural bias. Landscape when deconstructed becomes a cultural geography. Representations of the landscape will always be loaded with political and ideological baggage, as it becomes a product of our cultural and symbolic systems. By breaking down these elements that construct a landscape my work has enabled my further understanding of our environments on physical, psychological and cultural levels. I use photographic and filmic language to investigate the narratives and physical and imaginative reactions which construct these landscapes.

[1] Ross Gibson, “Seven Versions of an Australian Badland,” (St Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland, 2002) 50
[2] Tom Drahos, "The Imagined Desert." Coolabah 11 (2013): 148-61.
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