Figures in a Landscape

Many of my works are figures, and many are landscapes. Since the overall rubric is “Islands,” I guess they are really all figures in a landscape. The figure might be found in the negative space or ocean, so figure and landscape are merged in a particular way.

Robert Linsley, Island Masque 2008

Robert Linsley, Island Masque 2008

I’m sure most people are familiar with the pastels of Degas, in which he turned nudes into landscapes. I always hated them, the most banal and flaccid of ideas, and the easiest to realize. But now that’s exactly what I’m interested in. My poor opinion of the Degas works hasn’t changed, but they are a great example of the possibilities to be found in bad ideas. It’s a literary idea, à la Finnegan’s Wake, or Olson’s Maximus, itself derivative of Joyce, but it becomes a good one when it is formally strong, when a single gesture can produce figure and landscape as one.

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