Many of us have imagined seeing the image of a face or figure in the bark of a tree, in the patterns made by the leaves and shadows, or in the form of its branches. The Green Man is the artistic and iconic representation of that image—a figure part human, part plant. History is filled with Green Man images, but very little has been written about the significance of the image. Whilst the figure of the Green Man has appeared, disappeared and reappeared throughout the centuries, there is evidence to show that his appearance is often linked to times of upheaval, change or environmental crisis. His emergence, however, often goes unnoticed by the population and is all too often taken for granted or simply overlooked. The images that we interact with on a daily basis are a vehicle for the way we “see” or “view” our world and thus our perception of life. As the twenty-first century dawns, it is clear that the image of the Green Man is again reappearing in a wide range of artistic and cultural manifestations. This exegesis explores the driving force behind the current reappearance of the Green Man and examines what the figure represents to us in this age of environmental crisis. The study focuses in particular on the meanings and messages that the image conveys to contemporary Green Man artists and proposes some answers to the ancient mystery of what the Green Man tells us. In addition, the study also presents a body of creative work—a series of paintings that have been informed and inspired by the research and subsequent findings.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Creative Arts, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2007.
University of the Sunshine Coast Theses
Green Man Resurrected: An Examination of the Underlying Meanings and Messages of the Re-Emergence of the Ancient Image of the Green Man in Contemporary, Western, Visual Culture