Painting: poignancy and ethics

Mooney, James (2005) Painting: poignancy and ethics. In: Thinking Through Art: Reflections on Art as Research. Macleod, Katy, Holdridge, Lin and Beardon, Colin, eds. Innovations in Art and Design Series . Routledge, London and New York, pp. 133-142. ISBN 0415364779. [Book Section]


Mooney was one of seven contributors to the volume Thinking Through Art, which took an innovative look at artist's experiences of undertaking doctorates, proposing that the making of art is not only the production of an object but also the formulation of complex ideas. Asking what effect academic enquiry had on art practice, the book focused on art produced in higher educational environments and considered how the material product comes about through a process of conceiving and giving form to abstract thought. Importantly, the book argues that art itself, in the context of research degrees, is the research thesis and demonstrates the artist's active engagement and critical relation with and to the world.

Mooney's essay was concerned with issues of contemporary painting, Eros, ethics and experience, exploring the potential of painting to declare itself as an effective and affective carrier of ethical proposition and implication. It posited Levinas's elaboration of the ‘face-to-face' as a means of considering the encounter that takes place before a painting. The essay consisted of two sections: ‘The condition of painting: how is painting doing?' and ‘Poignancy and ethics: or what is our relation to painting?' The essay explored the condition of painting and addressed questions arising from the supposed decline of painting, ultimately proposing that it is not painting as a practice that needs resuscitating, rather, that it is our understanding of painting that needs to be revitalised.

Professor Sir Christopher Frayling contributed a foreword and James Elkins an afterword.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: The essay was expanded from an earlier version published in the peer reviewed Journal of Visual Arts Practice, special edition: The Enactment of Thinking, Volume 2 Nos. 1&2, pp 57-63, guest edited by Lin Holdridge and Katy Macleod published in 2003. ISSN1470-2029.
Research Areas: A. > School of Art and Design
Item ID: 452
Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2008 15:06
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:11

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