University of Tasmania
whole_NorrisDestanneDee2009_thesis.pdf (16.47 MB)

Painted pools : a lens into subjectivity

Download (16.47 MB)
posted on 2023-05-27, 17:50 authored by Norris, DD
This project is an investigation of visual metaphor: specifically, the metaphorical potential of images of water, from evocations of tranquil river pools to those of open sea. With imagery that fluctuates and moves from abstraction into representation, the project aims to present painted images of water that may induce a reflective or meditative frame of mind in the viewer, one that is akin to a common response to water itself. Within this framework the project seeks to convey the relationship between images of the particular with the universal: how the specificity of place can possess a universality of meaning and how one's own personal history can oscillate within this framework. It is posited that an artist's art practice is driven by a search for meaning, and in this instance it has been a rite of passage. Paradoxically, however, this research does not realize solutions to various challenges but is an expression of these challenges. Such a motivation - this search for meaning - is essentially subjective. Since the exegesis necessarily includes a description of the candidate's own artistic process and interpretation of the work, a commensurately subjective style of writing has been adopted, one that utilizes the methodology of hermeneutics. Thus, the project has been directed by a phenomenological way of knowing. The project has been shaped by research into other disciplines, such as anthropology, literature, psychology, philosophy, theology/spirituality and science. The main art-theoretical context for this project is Romanticism, as both an historical movement and a persistent contemporary orientation. However, other artists not necessarily aligned to the romantic tradition have been referenced. Relevant artists are Caspar David Friedrich, J.M.W. Turner, Edvard Munch, Peter Booth, Jennifer Bartlett, William Robinson, Pat Steir, and Mark Rothko, while Impressionist Claude Monet's late images of water have been important references. Commonly seen to co-exist on the surface of water are reflections of light from above and beyond, and embedded forms below and within the water. This dichotomous simultaneity may, it is suggested, be an allegory of our existence - of love and loss, of life and death. The concept of ocean waves is a metaphor for consciousness and experience. The body and the painted object are virtual pools. Thus it is an aim of the research that the painted images may serve as more than representations of water per se, that they may been considered to be a result of and as a representation of memory, experience and consciousness. The investigation has striven for such a synthesis of surface representation and inner felt complexity. It has frequently involved thinking in paint as distinguished from thinking about painting. Using the traditional field of oil painting and landscape painting, the project has yet sought to challenge perspectives, serving as a vehicle for stimulating dialogue on the issues of ecological awareness, interconnectedness and wholeness, even equating to James Elkins' concept of art-as-alchemy in its power to effect transformation.


Publication status

  • Unpublished

Rights statement

Copyright 2009 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (MFA)--University of Tasmania, 2009. Includes bibliographical references

Repository Status

  • Open

Usage metrics

    Thesis collection


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager