In his essay “Meanings of Landscape” (“Places of the Mind”, RKP 1949) the critic and curator Geoffrey Grigson described how “some people have ignored the personal factor” in writing on landscape art, and have attempted “to deduce from landscape rules of its own aesthetic”, describing the influence on art (and on art writing) of “a romantic pastime of English travellers in the eighteenth century” who sought to postulate “a kind of psychology divorced from the individual soul”. Particularly in response to the work of the painter John Constable, “Places of the Mind” proposed the alternate hypotheses that “landscape is you and me”, discussing how “we project ourselves” into an actual or painted landscape, “which then reflects our own being back to our eyes”.
In July 2019 the artists’ projects International Lawns, Disinformation and the Rural College of Art join forces to exhibit at the White Box Gallery - a few minutes walk from the Royal Park at Greenwich, and directly opposite the wide-open green spaces of suburban Blackheath.
International Lawns is a design agency founded in 2013 by the artists Andrew Curtis and Niall Monro, who practice “a philosophy of doubt”, which sees suburban landscapes as a neutral space between the countryside and city centre, where the subtle aesthetics of (for instance) lawn care or garage door painting can flourish. Disinformation is an electronic music and installation art project, which produces work concerned with projective psychology and the perceptual construction of natural forms; the works exhibited explore the representation of landscape artefacts, and the aesthetic possibilities of construction with lawn-care products. The Rural College of Art is a project of artist, film-maker and architect-carpenter David Gates, who works with leaves and feathers, who reduces and edits grand landscapes, and is stubbornly unromantic.