Although titled Landscape, Mark Tansey’s painting has little to do with nature. Tansey uses artistic conventions of landscape, such as a horizon line and receding space, but the scene is fantastical and imaginative. A mountain of crumbled figures dominates the center of the canvas, representing dismantled sculptures of prominent male figures from history.
The message is contradictory—leaders’ legacies are preserved through art, but whose legacies will escape the dustbin of history? The image alludes to contemporary mass media, in which bits and pieces of information break loose of their historical grounding and freely combine into new configurations. Tansey’s one color palette is reminiscent of sepia-toned photographs, old films, or vintage television.