The Materiality of Text and Body in Painting and Darkroom Processes: an investigation through practice
Author: Robinson, Deborah
Source: Journal of Visual Art Practice, Volume 2, Numbers 1-2, 1 July 2002 , pp. 93-95(3)
Abstract:The written component of my research charts the repositioning of a painting practice through the making of three discrete bodies of work. Each is accompanied by a practice text based on notes made whilst making the work, the writing of these texts allowed me to discover the theoretical issues in the work, these then generated another layer of writing that discusses historical and theoretical issues in context. Inscriptions is an example of practice-based writing produced during the early stages of the research. At this point I was investigating the historical tradition from which my practice as an abstract painter stemmed. To do this I immersed myself in processes and techniques that originated with the American painter Helen Frankenthaler (b. 1928). Frankenthaler's working methods were marginalized by the canon whose values reflected a gender bias in favour of male creativity. As a woman painter I believed that these ideologies still had the power to determine how I responded to the medium of paint. I therefore applied a deconstructive method to practice as an attempt to unearth the remnants of a historical framework that, to some degree, determines how the medium is conceptualized. The work I made was produced out of the tension of bringing together ideas taken from opposing paradigms, modernism and feminism. The modernist ideas were located in the medium itself, whereas feminist ideas taken from psychoanalytic and philosophic theory were accessed in textual form which was, during the process of making, responded to as a medium. Historically, within the critical framework of Abstract Expressionism, response to the medium was sexualized in accord with male values and sexuality. However, this problem can be located as part of a far broader discussion within a philosophical and psychoanalytic frame. Here, recent work by feminist thinkers such as Luce Irigaray, Judith Butler, Vicki Kirby, and Elizabeth Grosz provide a sustained inquiry into the sexualization of matter. Their ideas can be productively related to abstract painting which is, at its most basic, the organization of matter.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: July 1, 2002
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