Subject[ed] matter

Martin, Leigh Micheal
Thomson, Andy
Jervis, Ian
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Master of Art and Design
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Auckland University of Technology

This presentation will expand upon a number of theoretical concerns derived from a fairly discursive approach to both my haptic studio practice, and theory based research.

Theoretical concerns span concepts whose origins are based in discussions in and around the ‘aesthetic representation’ of the ‘sublime’ from the ‘classical,’ and ‘religious’ to the ‘technological.’ These digressions on the sublime, attempt to open up more discursive dialogues that are inherently related to the ‘affective’ experiencing of art located in the realm of paint(ing) and painted matter.

The intention is to explore how contemporary painting may offer a space of ‘contemplation’ for the observer, not in a traditional sense of the sublime (of ‘transcendence’ or the ‘meditative’) but one of an ‘affective’ intensity, which continually situates an observer as the ‘subject’ within the ‘phenomenological’ world.

A central focus here, is on experiences offered by various art works that appear seemingly quiet, or muted, ”pictures of nothing,” Experiences whose affective qualities, are often referred to as melancholic in nature. What is of importance here, are not notions regarding the ‘representation(s)’ of melancholy in a sense of ‘picturing,’ but of the melancholy which is in one sense experienced [felt] ‘within’ the observer/experiencer and event/encounter. These are qualities that in essence often slow down the manner in which the viewer encounters and experiences a work of art.

A consequence of contemporary capitalist society is an incessant promotion of an ideal, of ‘being’ in the ‘pursuit of happiness.’ An ideal that consequently does not allow enough time for the subject to digest, and ‘experience loss’, as an affective, restorative space of contemplation. In this sense this presentation will look at the ethical connotations surrounding these given digressions on the affective nature of melancholy.

Painting , Sublime , Melancholy , Silence , Abstraction , Nothingness
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