Mountains in America have been a subject of myth, story, writing, song, poem—likely even every expression of thought—for thousands of years. They’ve been approached with reverie, trepidation, fear, and longing, sought out by adventure-seekers, religious leaders, explorers, artists, scientists.
Mountains are distinct landscapes in both ecologic and cultural contexts; they are as much ideas as they are physical locations. However, what exactly is it about mountains that contributes to their mythology and intrigue still evades me. What is it about this landscape that makes it more valuable than the next? Why is this landscape the one we select to think about, write about, photograph, and paint, perhaps more than any other?
This piece is a built landscape—a mountain I constructed from insulation board and video projections. The idea of a "constructed landscape" was inspired by landscape architecture—the parks movement in specific—where areas of nature are in fact, carefully planned and designed to work in a specific way.
I also looked at the work of American landscape painters to see how they framed their subjects. They captured a heavily romanticized view of mountains, mainly using soft, glowing light to add heavenly qualities to their painted landscapes.
I arranged the scene and backlit it with bright lights to intensify the depth of the space. I also arranged trees in the mid-ground and foreground to imitate the common composition of landscape paintings.