Discussing the nature of painting through the poetics of transaction and experience
This research project will explore American philosopher John Dewey’s theory of transaction, and Shannon Sullivan’s interpretation of Dewey’s theory, the ‘Transactional Body’, and their inherent potential for the making and reception of painting. Dewey stated (Dewey, cited in Sullivan: 1-2) that organisms live as much in processes across and 'through' skins as in processes 'within skins'. Sullivan’s ‘transactional body’ is always in a state of flux, a morphic body in perpetual motion. Within an artistic context this raises the possibility of exploring the theory of transaction as it applies to painting, using the concept of automatic intuitive art practice. Central to this investigation will be direct connection between senses, instincts, intuition, and the painting. Sullivan suggests that truth and wisdom can be pursued through somatic experience. Therefore the process will be explored by an extension of the corporeal body through the physicality of gesture, movement, rhythm, colour, and mark making. A recurring subtext throughout this investigation will be that of ‘duality’; specifically that defined as the struggle between the use of the conscious, critical mind, allowing for the transaction between artist, paint and canvas to occur naturally and intuitively. The conscious mind / intuition duality manifests at various stages during the manufacture and reception of a painting. Whilst the project relies upon automatic and intuitive praxis, conscious decisions are made regarding the size and shape of the canvas, the medium used, and through reflective analysis of the completed work.