This research project investigates the possibilities of visual art as an effective means of expressing the lived experience of trauma and subliminal memory without direct reference to any specific event. The projects theoretical and practical research explores the delineation between the intentional expression of repressed emotions and the unintentional presence of suggestive elements within visual works of art. The practical work considers that we construct our understanding of the world through memories and visual (or visualised) cues attached to language. The motivation for this project stems from the diaries my father wrote during his incarceration as a POW in WWII. Although they form a tangible link to the experiences of being a soldier and prisoner during WWII, it is the emotional aftermath which creates the catalyst for this research. His work as a potter and sculptor inspires the questions that form the boundaries of the research. Artists who have been inspirational for the studio research during this project include contemporary artists Doris Salcedo and William Kentridge as well as historic artist Otto Dix. The aim of the studio research has been to work through the medium of printmaking to examine the visual expression of the subliminal emotive responses that traumatic events can render in a person's psyche. Mechanisms of plate sequence, site specific arrangement and tonal variation contribute to the development of prints on paper and clay. In the exhibition work, which comprises of over 80 prints of primarily etchings and lithographs, the literal and sense memories are carried through time and place informing and affecting the interpretation and emotional engagement with each encountered environment. An installation utilising audio recording and raw clay is also in the exhibition and these works are supported by bodies of work that relate to the questions posed in the project.
Copyright 2009 the author CD-ROM contains accompanying images. Thesis (MFA)--University of Tasmania, 2009