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Drawing the object-a metaphor for and re-forming of memory


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Marr, R 2013 , 'Drawing the object-a metaphor for and re-forming of memory', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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By investigating the connections between drawing, object and memory, this research project
operates as an enquiry into processes of transition and transformation, and the significance of
everyday objects to memory. Through practices of process‐based drawing, I focus on aged domestic
objects to explore relationships between materiality and our awareness of and insights into past
experience. I approach the drawing and casting of objects as a metaphor for the mental processes
we experience in relation to memory. The project is supported by research into theories of memory,
with particular focus on the capacity of memory to shift and change over time, and how the merging
of past and present relates to the creation of new realities.
The practical research has resulted in a body of work that consists of a series of photocopy drawings,
rubbings and three‐dimensional forms made from liquid latex, wax and tarlatan fabric. The
development of tangible, delicate forms and imagery reveals alternate approaches in drawing to
create modified shapes and surfaces of domestic objects. The diverse works reflect the fluctuating
processes of memory, evoking new meanings from prior experiences. The works are also an
intimate, personal response to the vulnerable materiality of the objects from which they originate.
For my practical research I have drawn on a number of philosophical approaches from the following
sources: Edward Casey’s research into the change‐inducing processes of remembering in
Remembering: A Phenomenological Study; Paul Ricoeur’s focus on the persistence of enduring traces
in Memory, History, Forgetting; Henri Bergson’s philosophies regarding memory as an embodied
experience in Matter and Memory; Michael Leyton’s ideas on the importance of shape to memory in
Symmetry, Causality, Mind; and Maurice Merleau‐Ponty’s theories on embodied consciousness,
touch as sensory surface, and the connection between memory and the material world in
Phenomenology of Perception. My study of this material has expanded my approach to drawing and
my perception of an object’s materiality and its connection to the past.
The contextual background includes selected works of three artists – Eva Hesse, Giorgio Morandi
and Louise Bourgeois. The sculptural paper and latex forms of Hesse’s studio works (1966–1969)
express the potential of open‐ended exploration within forms that appear incomplete, and their
suggestive uncertainty has influenced my experimentation with ambiguity. Giorgio Morandi’s
intimate still life paintings and drawings, and particularly his initial treatment of studio objects, have
been influential in terms of my experimentation with trace and enduring marks. The fabric works of Louise Bourgeois (2000‐2009) are a material expression of autobiographical memory and inspired
my investigations of material potency in my studio work.
This research project expands on theoretical ideas that frame the ambiguous zone of the past and
the present in memory. It emphasises strategies of making aligned with concepts of transformation,
intimacy and the ephemeral. The partial and collapsed nature of the works, the use of disparate and
yielding materials, and the capacity of the two and three‐dimensional forms to be read as matter in
transition demonstrates their potential as catalysts for new form and meaning. The project
acknowledges the everyday object as a valuable referent for the complexities of memory and
domestic items as a source for shape. The innovative application of drawing techniques undertaken
within the studio research contributes to an ongoing pursuit within contemporary drawing practice
to transform traditional drawing language into new art forms.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Marr, R
Keywords: drawing, object, metaphor, memory
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