Bound Futures and Existential Anxiety
by Jasmine Targett
Vision Quest: Into Nature, Catalogue Essay, Incinerator Gallery 2015
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In the changing world, responses to environmental challenges have become mixed and varied. Key themes, or rather ‘tags’ are now inextricably liked to nature that include - under threat, endangered, in crisis and disaster. These imbue a sense of uncertainty, provoking a narrative within visual culture on aesthetics and emergency. Jasmine Targett’s ‘Into Nature’ from her Vision Quest series, examines the existential crisis that arises from such uncertainty about the future.
Immersed within Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges, vacant of human markers, the image depicts a handcrafted device for enhancing vision that allows the viewer to see deeper within their surroundings. The allegory within the image implies that the atmosphere in the rages is observed as permeable, as thought there is a portal within the ether allowing us to look deeper Into Nature.
Installed in the garden at Incinerator Gallery, the image appears on a billboard, erected by the artist. Juxtapositioned against one another, the two landscapes intersect and rupture one another. The contrast of the natural and built environment engages us in a conversation, drawing a circle around how the two environments are disjoined or innately connected. The poignancy of presenting this work within this context alludes that the future of one, is bound to the other.
Historically there has been the propensity in photography and painting to frame nature into landscapes, cultivating sections of Earth to create the ‘ideal environment’. Artist Olafur Eliasson has said, ‘just by looking at nature, we cultivate it into an image.’ Subconsciously our eyes reorder and cultivate so that our environment as we want it to be, rather than as it is. As though drawn from memory, rather than by sight. Into Nature breaks down traditional notions of the picture plane and engages a discourse on the mechanisms of contemplating the future within the context of existential anxiety.