Thursday, 12 March 2015

Studies of fences in the snow

My fascination of fences continues whilst I am in Canada. 

Whilst the structure of them does not differ much to that of Australian fences, I am drawn to how they look in the winter landscape. Their dark silhouettes contrast sharply with the cold white snow.

I love the monochrome palette of these images, white ground, pale sky, and everything else in shades of grey.

My exploration into fences continues into my MFA thesis in which I am researching fences in the post-colonial context.

The fence is an extension of the home delineating an area between the private feminine domestic realm and the public masculine realm outside the boundaries of the fence. The space between the house and the fence is an area where the gender roles mutate. This space is a liminal area reflecting a continual shift between masculine and feminine, public and private, past and present.

The fence symbolises ownership, boundaries, protection, inclusion and exclusion. Generally the fence is constructed consisting of vertical and horizontal planes in a three dimensional space, although it can feel illusory, with only the posts being visible, the lines of wire almost transparent and lost in the landscape. Without the weight of the shadow to enhance its presence it is insubstantial yet it can still have considerable impact on the land and the human psyche. The fence physically prevents movement in space, providing an illusion of security and restricting movement in thought, inhabiting our thinking and shaping our cultures through social restrictions.

Fences are built not for security, but for a sense of security. What a fence satisfies is not so much a material need as a mental one. Fences protect people from anxieties and fears. In this way, they are built not for those who live outside them, but for those who dwell within. In a certain sense, what is built is not a fence, but a state of mind.

The fence became a symbol of colonial plunder, promising that those who erect them have the right of territorial control. They became masculine tokens of order in the wilderness.  

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