Ideas about Nature in American Art and Visual Culture

By Mark Graham.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Ideas about wilderness, nature, and sustainability are significant parts of the American artistic tradition. The visual arts and popular visual culture are particularly influential in conveying ideas, stories, and myths about nature that animate discussions about environmental responsibility, ecology, and sustainability. Artists, filmmakers, designers, and advertisers echo these beliefs and attitudes. The stories we tell ourselves about nature deeply influence approaches to preservation, restoration, sustainability and the practice of art and art education that is concerned with ecological issues. This article traces ideas about nature in a few selected art histories, in popular visual culture, in the work of contemporary artists, and in the practice of art education. Ideas about nature create rich contexts for teaching, learning, and art-making that focus on ecology and the places students and teachers inhabit.

Keywords: Nature, Place, Art Education, Ecology

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 965.220KB).

Dr. Mark Graham

Professor, Art Department, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA

Dr. Mark Graham is a professor in the Department of Visual Art at Brigham Young University. Prior to coming to Brigham Young University, he taught at Washington State University in the College of Education. Before his university appointments, he was a high school art teacher and arts administrator in the Port Washington Public Schools in Long Island, New York. Dr. Graham is also an internationally known artist and illustrator and has illustrated more than twenty children picture books. He has exhibited his illustrations at the Society of Illustrators exhibitions, the Bologna Children Book Exhibition and many other national and international venues. He continues to create various kinds of art objects, including mandalas and complex installations. He spent most of his professional life in New York City where he studied at the Art Student’s League of New York and Columbia University. His research interests are include Place-Based Education, Ecology, Critical Pedagogy, and Material Culture Picture Books and Graphic Novels as Contemporary Art Forms Adolescent Artistic Development, Secondary Art Education Policy The Teaching Artist and Art Educational Pedagogy The Spiritual Dimensions of Art Education and Tibetan Mandalas