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Post Nature

Articles: Post Nature

Art, which now apparently embraces all forms of self-expression, here suggests new relationships between artist and nature more appropriate to a time when the natural world exists only as vestiges maintained through human intervention.
Gardeners, and writers about gardens, frequently claim that gardens are a form of art. Their reasons are usually aesthetic, involving the discerning use of color, form, and space. Formalist aesthetics can be a rich field of exploration, and gardeners and artists have learned much from each other.

But art has other dimensions. Art-making can be seen as a way of setting forth ideas and conceptions about the world. In this way art can be described as having a text. Much contemporary high art emphasizes this as an area of exploration.

Gardens, too, have texts as well as aesthetics. The garden site conveys ideas about nature, spirituality, and human relations. Moslem gardens, with their crossing “rivers,” “fields” of fruit, and aura of ease, express the Koranic idea of paradise. Renaissance gardens could be intensely allegorical: in the Garden of Love at Villandry in France, clipped boxwood tells the story of romantic love.

The important element...


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