Isolation and Landscape

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Sightline (orange, blue target)
conceptual, landscape, lake, foreground trees, distant trees, cross-hairs, target, sepia toned, large scale, painting, acrylic on canvas, horizon, aiming, reference to camera, space, opposites, nature and technology,ecology target, camera cross-hairs,sightline, opposites, viewfinder, nature, technology, Canadian landscape,targets
description

As we can see in Sightline (orange, blue target) the crosshairs (or "target") in the piece sit directly between a forested shore on the left, and a smoky factory on the right, conveying Koop's own environment in a city on the prairies.

start quoteI want to reclaim what I know from what I see and translate that to the viewer...end quote
-- Wanda Koop (GreenZone 2003)

The crosshairs is a way of locating something, of targeting, of pointing to a goal or an objective. Usually, this is to cause damage;  it comes from archery and rifling and was used to indicate where an arrow or bullet would fly. More recently, though, it has come to be used for photography; the crosshairs in the  cameraIn photography, a tool for producing photographs, having a lightproof enclosure with an aperture and a shuttered lens through which the image of an object is focused and recorded on a photosensitive film or plate. In video, a device that receives the primary image on a light-sensitive cathode tube and transforms it into electrical impulses. (Artlex.com) Find out about 35-mm cameras at Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/135_film  indicates something that is worth taking a picture of, and therefore something that should be paid attention to.

The practice of hunting is similar to the practice of photography. We refer to both hunting and photography in similar ways: in photography, we refer to recording an image as "capturing" or "shooting," and another term for a gun's crosshairs is its "sight." Both are about targeting, locating, and choosing a moment.

In this work, Koop has chosen to locate the crosshairs on the center of the piece, between the natural and the industrial. The work has a sepia  toneA quality of a colour, arising from its saturation (purity and impurity), intensity (brilliance and dimness), luminosity (brightness and dullness), and temperature (warm and cool); or to create such a quality in a colour. To tone down is to make a colour less vivid, harsh, or violent; moderate. To tone up is to make one become brighter or more vigorous. Tonality can refer to the general effect in painting of light, colour, and shade, or the relative range of these qualities in colour schemes. (Artlex.com)  to it; sepia is a word used to indicate a brown tint, and this  styleA way of doing something. Use of materials, methods of working, design qualities and choice of subject matter reflect the style of the individual, culture, movement, or time period.  comes from the history of photography.  We can then assume that Koop is trying to indicate that this  spaceSpace can be the area around, within or between images or elements. Space can be created on a two-dimensional surface by using such techniques as overlapping, object size, placement, colour intensity and value, detail and diagonal lines.  between two opposites should be given importance and attention. On the other hand, the crosshairs in this piece appear more like that of a gun (and she calls it a "target" rather than using the language of photography by calling it a "viewfinder" or "rangefinder").  This might indicate that Koop is suggesting taking aim of the area between these opposites. And after all, it is between nature and technology where our (or the artist's) experience of Canada's landscapes happens; natural settings seen through a  cameraIn photography, a tool for producing photographs, having a lightproof enclosure with an aperture and a shuttered lens through which the image of an object is focused and recorded on a photosensitive film or plate. In video, a device that receives the primary image on a light-sensitive cathode tube and transforms it into electrical impulses. (Artlex.com) Find out about 35-mm cameras at Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/135_film  or gun sight.

additional resources Things to Think About
  • Does Wanda Koop's placement of the target in Sightline mean that she wants to damage the landscape or to protect it?
Studio Activity

Crosshairs

In Sightline, Wanda Koop uses crosshairs is a way of locating something, of targeting, of pointing to a goal or an objective

  • Look through a magazine and cut out images of landscapes.
  • Then draw or paint crosshairs or targets on your images.  Consider where you put the crosshairs, and their size in the landscape.
  • What can your placement of the crosshairs mean?
  • How does it change the picture you've added them to?

The land and technology

Can you remember a time when you were outside of a city, experiencing the land?  If so, were there any objects or tools that came between you and the land?

  • Make a list of a few of these and describe how they might have either helped or harmed your view of the landscape and the environment.
  • Keep in mind that language, clothing, cars and fishing rods are all forms of technology, too.
References

Author unknown.  'Wanda Koop:  The Contagious Power of Art.'  The Canada Council for the Arts, 2004.  Retrieved from the Internet on August 25, 2008 from:  http://www.canadacouncil.ca/aboutus/artistsstories/visualarts/kc127243766945312500.htm

Canadian Heritage University of Regina Mackenzie Art Gallery Mendel Art Gallery Sask Learning