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Nature, my Friend

7. November 2019

Nature, my Friend

7. November 2019 Katharina

Hello, good to see you. Today, we will compare a collage by Merve Özaslan with a painting from Marcus Stone. It is called ‘Love’s Daydream End’ and stems from the 19th century. We will be talking about love but also about nature. So, collage meets painting, love meets nature and nature needs our attention.

Meeting Point

Once my grandparents visited us, my grandfather and I often sat together in our garden. As a teenager, I loved to linger there and read. My grandfather did this, too. At the end of their visit he said to me, how good it is to have a place where one can always come back to. In our case, it was the garden.

I think we all need such a place. And quite often we might find it in nature. Where do you go to when you want to have a good read, to be with yourself, or to share some precious moments with the one you love?

Nature as a retreat and even more, nature as a friend – we find this in our two art works from today. Let us see which story they tell us. The following questions are helpful when we look at the art works.

  1. How is nature presented?
  2. In which ways are nature and love connected?
  3. How do we feel when looking at these art works?
Hug converted, Merve Özaslan

How is nature presented?

In the collage ‘Hug converted’ by Merve Özaslan we see a couple. They embrace each other. The main photograh is Held in brown tones. In contrast, theman’s silhouette is filled with a coloured picture of an autumn forest.

The woman leans her head on the man’s shoulder. But wait, is it really the man we see or rather a clip of nature? Nature is here presented in the shape of a man. Thus, nature becomes like a person. Nature is something the woman feels close to and relies on.

Love’s Daydream, Marcus Stone, around 1880

The painting ‘Love’s Daydream End’ dates from around 1880. We also see a couple, a woman leaning towards a tree. Just as the woman in Merve Özaslan’s Collage. On the height of her head, there are two hearts cut into the tree.

Nature is here a place where the woman goes to and dreams. She leans on the tree like on a good friend. In the collage and the painting, nature is not only a place but also something the women feel close to and were they can let themselves fall.

In which ways are nature and love connected?

The artist Marcus Stone painted in the first half of his career mainly historical events. Later then, he focused on genre scenes. This means, he depicted situations from the everyday life. Just like in our painting. These paintings often included nature. And they could remind us of the settings from Jane Austen’s novels.

Jane Austen was an English novelist living in the second part of the 18th century until the beginning of the 19th century. Her stories are fantastic, she observes her characters with a shard eye and depicts the love interplay between women and men. In her famous novel ‘Sense and Sensibility’ we read:

‘My heart is, and always will be, yours.’

If a picture could visualise these words, it might be the one by Marcus Stone. Nature and love are deeply connected here, nature is the place where the woman dreams about her beloved one. The two cut hearts, forever written into the tree, although life might not keep this promise.

The quote from Jane Austen’s novel fits also to the collage by Merve Özaslan. But here, it might be the love the woman feels for the man or even for nature. In Stoke’s painting nature is a reminder of love and the absent lover. Here with Merve Özaslan, nature could be the lover as such. The woman and nature are a couple, the woman is in love with nature.

How do we feel when looking at these art works?

Some of us might feel attached to nature as the woman in Stoke’s painting is. A place we go to, where we feel our heart and memories. And some of us might be deeply in love with nature as such.

Both art works arouse some sad feelings inside of me. Because they show some beautiful spots of nature. A coloured autumn forest as well as a forest filled with sunshine and shades. But then again, how long will these spots continue to exist? When I think of forests, I am reminded of the undescribable drama around the rain forest.

How can we preserve nature as a retreat? Our two art works give us an answer. We can take care of nature as we take care of a friend. This we see in Merve Özaslan’s collage. And we can connect nature with love, not only in our memory, but also in our present. The painting by Marcus Stoke inspires us to do so.

Katharina

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