Arriving at the surface: an analysis of the organisation of the surface of paintings and the space around them as sites to generate specific practices of thought

Poulson, Christopher (2009) Arriving at the surface: an analysis of the organisation of the surface of paintings and the space around them as sites to generate specific practices of thought. DProf thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

This research project presents a number of approaches towards the surfaces produced within my own practice. In this sense it is a reversed critique, a meditation upon the practice of considering artworks shaped by the structures of the works themselves, rather than an attempt to align the works with other existing external structures of explanation. The surface of the picture plane presents the researcher with grave difficulties. It is silent and fixed, and necessarily complete unto itself. It has a defined border that divides it from the flux of the world around it. Meditation upon such a site would seem to produce only a stream of interpretive reflection. Without the precise definitions of language, images might only appear to offer the opportunity for highly subjective responses, becoming material for textual metaphor. This approach overlooks the possibility that the site of the painting does not just represent ideas, but actually can be an apparatus to generate and contain thought. The ‘surface’ becomes not the hard unyielding face of the image, but a shifting border that must account for the movements of time and the mechanisms of perception. The surface is an object, and a series of events collapsed into this object. To explore this possible ‘event’ in my own practice I undertook the exploration a number of different forms of organising and presenting works, combined with simultaneous investigations into other artist’s work and methods. This mimics the way in which I construct my own work; allowing a group of image/ideas to coalesce around a projected ‘surface’, which here would be a defined space of production (a canvas, a exhibition space, a live performance). The danger of this approach is that the clumps of thought/image will remain singular and disconnected, and the surface will not exist as anything more than a collection of things. For the works to succeed as sites to generate specific thought they must also reveal some kind of method of investigation to the viewer. This project examines some particular instances where such methodologies can be seen in operation.

Item Type:Thesis (DProf)
Research Areas:Middlesex University Schools and Centres > School of Art and Design > Art & Design
ID Code:9118
Deposited On:22 May 2012 11:17
Last Modified:23 Jul 2014 04:12

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