The series of landscapes from the area around Björklunden, Lawrence University’s estate at the shores of Lake Michigan, in DoorCounty, depict a referential space, the shores of Lake Michigan, while making evident the processes that construct the paintings. The images explore the possibility of a space that indicates the illusion of a three-dimensional realm, with a background and a foreground. But they also call attention to the surface of the works as two-dimensional. Tension arises through the juxtaposition of a surface that denounces its own two-dimensionality while hinting at the illusion of depth in traditional landscape painting.
In addition to playing with this 3D vs.2D tension, the landscapes want to place the space within the subjectivity of the individual, rather than as a thing “out there.” According to Kant, space and time are the two subjective means by which the individual knows the world. Space originates, then, not in an external realm but in the individual’s subjectivity. As such, space can become more of a symbol charged with subjective meanings than a faithful representation of reality. As the notions of subjectivity and of the subject were challenged by post-structuralist ideas in the late twentieth century, this landscape series wants to propose a rethinking of visual space and a new awareness of its meanings and limitations. Thus, the landscapes become, in Umberto Eco’s words, “epistemological metaphors,” allowing a more direct and immediate access to the world they represent.