Alex Losett talks with Molly Ledbetter about Minimal Landscapes
I like how you question whether these “pristine” vistas can be taken at face value or not, considering the prevalent environmental and social concerns of the region. Were you conscious of this contradiction while painting these “deceptively idyllic” scenes ……
Very much so. “Pristine” is a romanticized definition; I would even call it immature. The idea of the "pristine landscape"--of nature as a wellspring of purity or innocence—is some two hundred years old. Yet this idea persists in popular culture and is ingrained in our very thought processes. Like most children of modern societies, I was raised with this concept.
From a human standpoint, there is nothing pristine about nature. It is full of microorganisms searching for warm hosts--such as us. I remember being warned against drinking water from crystalline looking streams on my first outing in the Canadian Rockies: the parasite girardia lives in those streams. I later learned that streams affected by acid rain look especially clear because they support little to no life.
Looks are deceptive. Nothing is really “pristine,” but there is no harm in entertaining the concept as long as we are conscious of its limitations.
continues on next page>