I want to restore the balance in aesthetic considerations and experience.

1. Introducing the Curlew Camp walks

2. Curlew Camp

3. Curlew Camp, Walk 1

4. Curlew Camp, Walk 2

5. Curlew Camp, Walk 3

6. A brief history of landscape painting

7. A brief history of Australian Impressionism: how Curlew Camp came about

From Curlew Camp, Walk 2

To be followed (eventually) by considerations of: art outside the white walls; natural aesthetics; stone; an everyday aesthetic; a sustainable aesthetic, walking – and more . . .


We think that how we do things now is how they have always been done and always will be. Stephen Brush, reminds us that this isn’t so. He examined the pioneering work of historian Leopold von Ranke and geologist Charles Lyell. Brush writes, ‘Ranke convinced historians to give priority to original sources, while Lyell persuaded geologists to favour explanations based on causes that can now be seen in operation.’[1] And the history of art demonstrates just how changeable the processes of making art, defining art and experiencing art are.

We know that rocks scattered in a landscape are not considered art, but that doesn’t disqualify them for offering a rich and complex aesthetic experience. Our Western culture holds regard and even reverence for what is designated as art. Howard Becker notes, for example, that many may ‘believe art is better, more beautiful, and more expressive’ than other objects.[2]

We like what we think we like and are taught to like. ‘Adopting an aesthetic mode, which can be primed by telling individuals that they are viewing real artworks or by being within a museum, has itself been shown to increase liking, and activation in brain areas concerned with pleasure.’[3]

In an essay about Rothko, Arthur Danto states that looking at art ‘cannot be an ordinary experience, like that of witnessing a scaffolding against the sky or a spectacular sunset on the night flight to Iceland . . . a ready-made Rothko, a heavy purple at the bottom, separated from the upper band of light blue by a band of rose and orange.’ [4]

Sarah Boxer suggests that Danto thinks that, ‘There must be ‘crucial differences that do not meet the eye.’ But ultimately Danto is disappointed. He decides that Rothko’s paintings are all surface, just about beauty. One of them ‘shows what materiality comes to when it does not evoke something deeper than itself.’[5]

Beauty and the interesting are always available, being found in both the natural and the non-natural.


[1] Stephen Brush, ‘History and Geology as Ways of Studying the Past’, in Mark Amsler, Creativity & The Imagination: Case Studies from the Classical Age to the Twentieth Century (Studies in Science and Culture, Vol 3. University of Delaware Press, 1987, p107.

[2] Howard Becker, Art Worlds, University of California Press, 1982, p133.

[3] Matthew Pelowski, Gernot Gerger, Yasmine Chetouani, Patrick S. Markey and Helmut Leder, ‘But Is It really Art? The Classification of Images as “Art”/“Not Art” and Correlation with Appraisal and Viewer Interpersonal Differences’, Front. Psychol., 9 October 2017. They found that, ‘Art classification in turn showed a significant positive correlation with liking. Whether an object was classified as art moreover correlated with specific personality variables, tastes, and decision strategies.’

[4] Arthur C Danto, The Madonna of the Future: Essays in a Pluralistic Art World, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000

[5] Sarah Boxer, ‘Non-Art for Non-Art’s Sake’, NY Times Aug. 6, 2000.



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