Tristram Lansdowne’s watercolors are investigations of landscape and architecture in relation to ideas of permanence and function. Geological and botanical frames of reference add temporal concerns to Lansdowne’s exploration of the metaphorical power of ruins.
The watercolours present richly described scenes in which various tropes of landscape and architecture have been assembled to create conflicted systems, developed according to a logic dominated more by historical glitch than any autonomous idea of form and function. Both enchanting natural phenomenon and deluding vision, the mirage serves, here, as false refuge but also as an opportunity for divination, for time travel. Vestiges of architectural modernism appear, but only as specimens in a larger natural history that includes 17th century geological theories and Romantic totems. This is a world comprised of art historical flotsam, predicated on faulty idealism and mistaken identity, where everything is an invasive species.