“Colonization & Wilderness: Nineteenth-Century American and Australian Landscape Painting” at Art Gallery of Western Australia

September 27 & 28, 2016
Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth 

Convened by University of Western Australia Emeritus Professor Richard Read, in collaboration with the Terra Foundation, this two-day international symposium brings together leading scholars from America, Australia, and Europe who provide an insightful intercultural exchange on aesthetic and environmental issues prompted by the exhibition Continental Shift: Nineteenth-Century American and Australian Landscape Painting (July, 30, 2016–February 5, 2017), which features 30 original American and Australian nineteenth-century landscape paintings selected from the collections of the Terra Foundation and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, respectively.

The symposium focuses  on the vexed relationship between environmental change and aesthetic innovation as colonial settlements supplanted indigenous territories and wilderness across both countries. Eighteen years after the pioneering exhibition New Worlds From Old: 19th Century Australian & American Landscapes took place at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, this symposium revisits its themes from the new perspective of Anthropocenic studies that have revolutionized disciplinary relations between the sciences and the humanities in recent years. Speakers will explore the complex relationship between clearing the land, celebrating settlement, and worshipping the sublimity of nature through a genre of art that, with various degrees of optimism and anxiety, developed uniquely materialist potentialities and new methods of distribution and display for reinterpreting the environmental, literary, religious, scientific, perceptual, economic, indigenous, conservationist, technical, military and geo-political relations of colonial modernity in both countries.

Speakers include:

  • Professor David Peters Corbett, Courtauld Institute of Art and University of East Anglia;
  • Associate Professor Rachael Z. DeLue, Princeton University;
  • Dr. David Hansen, Australian National University;
  • Professor Kenneth Haltman, University of Oklahoma;
  • Melissa Harpley, Curator of Historical and Modern Art, Art Gallery of Western Australia;
  • Chris Pease, Western Australian Artist;
  • Dr. Ruth Pullin, Independent Scholar;
  • Emeritus Professor Richard Read, University of Western Australia; and
  • Professor Catherine Speck, University of Adelaide.

The embedded video features the conference’s welcoming remarks and an overview by Richard Read—please click here to view all of the presentations on YouTube.

For more information and to view the full program, please visit:

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