Landscape is no longer a region of quietude and retreat; it is steadily being absorbed by an expanding cityscape. Landscape is home to TV shows, mobile communication facilities, and networked data overload - it is less ‘natural’ than ever before and means something different now. Landscape is a framework of cultivated environments, infused with the multiplicity of human culture. Cityscape and landscape merge, becoming ever more a construct of the mind. This new landscape, or the evolving environment that society operates in, doesn’t exist without all the electronically stored experiences, the daily news and mass communication network. Digital media infiltration of Landscape creates a readily consumed pastiche of romantic ideals.

The largest work in Trine Boesen’s show at Vane in Newcastle, Temptation, mother me (2005), exemplifies the ambiguities of the new landscape. In the lower half, a herd of deer congregate in a forest clearing. In the upper, a pin-up model arches her back while a riot of aeroplanes, spiders, penis-like babies’ pacifiers and amorphous brightly coloured forms explode into the space above her. The scenario is too small for the canvas, and the painting spills out onto the wall.

The ‘natural’ landscape in the lower half is reduced to an outline: black on white: brighter where the animals graze, darker where the silent trees brood; butterflies, which would normally brighten up such a scene, serve only to slightly alleviate the gloom, drained of their normally brilliant hues. It is a barely sketched in shell that awaits the garish invasion of contemporary life and culture towering over it. The pin-up wriggles her arse, body tied into a corset: she could be either an image from a red light district or from a fashion ad. She embodies the increase of sexual titillation in Mediascape, which itself has become an inextricable part of Landscape. The pacifiers that we suck as babies serve as symbols for all the kinds of gratification that we crave as adults, oral and otherwise. Whereas the aeroplanes that fly us to our holiday in the sun can also be the tools of political terrorism, or seen as destroyers of the ozone layer. These ambiguities of life are painted in vibrant, glowing colours. Colour is the present world; black and white images signify the past, history, our memories of bygone times or a rural idyll, faded to a monochrome. Encrypted in Temptation, mother me is the whole life cycle of Birth, Sex, Work, and Death.

In cityscapes, such complexities can be overpowering. The wish (2007) looks down onto twelve uniform tower blocks in the foreground. Deep Space darkens the centre of the canvas; myriads of spheres seem to be falling into, or spewing out of, a black hole. Above, girders or shards and machine parts fly upwards. Again the stretcher’s confines are too limiting for the painting, and the shards of metal burst out of the pictorial space. The human habitation is still: tombstone like, it seems frozen before the seismic events confronting it, with their semantic associations of science and space (the spheres) or technology (the girders) in cataclysmic motion.

In the foreground of Blue pills on a red rainy day (2007) the influx of pills into a canyon of sky-scrapers is accompanied by flowers; in the background, topsy-turvy engine and construction parts, a car, a street sign showing children playing, all seem to be ready to intrude into the everyday world, spat out from a vortex in a shower of bloody drops. Again the sketched-in city seems still and pallid, waiting for either the mayhem of colours and shapes on one side, or the tranquillity of plants and drugs on the other, to invade.
The apparent tranquillity is misleading in Striking a nerve I & II (2007). Part 1 shows a plane getting ready for take-off into a sky full of coffin-like structures, flowers, patterns, an oversize bird and another aeroplane already in flight. From the empty white expanse of the runway, brown weeds grow in the foreground, again extending away from the canvas onto the wall until they reach Part 2. Here a plane is seen taxi-ing in the distance, but what could be a vital engine component lies lost in the foreground; the outlined form on a white ground contrasts with the jumble of geometric shapes and colours, emphasising the solitary motor part. Somewhere between the landscape and the cityscape, this ‘runwayscape’ is an empty field of disquiet.

The skies in all these scenarios are full of confused image data. In the digital environment, or internetscape, data encryption is used to safely transmit information. In Boesen’s painted environments such encryption gets corrupted and spat out in new constellations. There is no clear 1 and 0, no definitive yes and no. While it obviously helps in the sphere of electronic communications, little truth is to be had from the juxtaposition of binary opposites. Rather, insight is hidden somewhere between shapes and colours.

These paintingscapes acknowledge the limitations of hard edged, static structures by letting their forms expand from the canvas onto the wall. Whereas sculpture has an inbuilt ability to reach into its surrounding spaces, painting has often had trouble finding an ‘expanded field’. Here, wall space is incorporated by necessity, as the imagery has to burst out. In the series of smaller works My own private rip-off #1-5 (2007) this necessity extends only to the frames, emphasising the external border as part of the image. Black and white strokes contour the frames of these dense collages, which are comprised of the image components of the larger works: antlers, mushrooms, deer, flowers, buildings and faces. Unlike the canvases, these have a dream-like, drug-infused appearance as they lack the contrast of a stark and rigid architectural or natural landscape.

However, this promiscuous mixing of forms and shapes has become a staple of digital culture: sampling, mixing and mash-up have replaced collage and assemblage, which represents, by comparison, a more deliberate usage of found images. In the internetscape, software can and will randomly collate visual material. Boesen’s mixing of elements that seem to hover over the habitats of humanity therefore seems to be a depiction of a new reality rather than of dreams. The lunar-like skull in What a palm in a pot will do to you (2006) may appear to come straight from your nearest Head-Shop, but it operates to accentuate the focus on the internalised experience of the world that is promoted in the mediascape of the internet. In Boesen’s work, as in that strange world of consumerism, desire and physicality are generated through a jumble of imagery rather than through forms of tactility.

Boesen’s paintingscapes do not follow the same objectives as mediascapes but they operate in a similar way. In that operation, they open up the possibilities for painting. The issue of realism versus abstraction may be long dead; the issues of plural realities in one frame still current. Yet the mashed-up realities extending from these canvases are a new journey.