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Reinterpreting pattern and decoration in contemporary painting

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Hawley, DR 2003 , 'Reinterpreting pattern and decoration in contemporary painting', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This project presents pattern and decoration as a strategy for the continuation of painting well beyond modernism. Of particular concern is painting's ongoing obsession with pictorial space and how, given its own medium specific limitations, it is able to present or represent the world. Consequently it assumes that the 'death of painting' characterized only the end of one particular narrative.
In the paintings, lines and shapes are arranged into a motif by a process similar to cell division or biformation. The motif is repeated in many ways, occasionally creating kaleidoscopic spatial sensations; it often appears in the centre of compositions. The repetition and representation of this motif in each painting is also reiterated in the use of serialization, as individual paintings become part of a larger relational macro structure. These operations are reflective of pattern and decoration. Formalist strategy is essential, as scale, paint application and centrality present pattern and decoration in ways not usually associated specifically within the medium of painting. The works do not sit comfortably as paintings alone; instead they display qualities characteristic of printmaking or even sculpture.
The project alludes to more than painting about painting, even though the internal dialogues of painting are evident. It presents pattern and decoration as open signifiers. It does not subscribe to the exclusive modernist ideology concerning a work of art's autonomy, as the works refer to more than their own internal operations and engage also with external phenomena. In this project, painting's exchange with modernism is not one of irony, or subversion, as was the case with other more recent conceptual modes of painting. Instead, it is indicative of a resurgent interest in approaches to painting that emphasize the sensory and retinal whilst also echoing manifestations of formalist possibilities.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Hawley, DR
Keywords: Painting, Modern
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2003 the author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (MFA)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

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