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Shipbuilding as Romantic Abstraction


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Bissland, JM 2008 , 'Shipbuilding as Romantic Abstraction', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The object and primary aim of this MFA project was to create a body of photographic images that combine the notion of maritime romance with the practicalities of shipbuilding. The images are visual evidence relating to personal experience and as such are reflective in content.

As a photographic artist my intention and motivation was to gain a thorough and intense command and understanding of my chosen medium in terms of theory, concept, practice and skill. My investigation process is informed by years of experience in both shipbuilding and photography. It involved experimentation into processes and materials in order that the viewer is informed of an aesthetic notion through visual stimuli.

In order that I engage with the broader photographic history by means of abstraction, highlighting the aesthetic and that I gain insight into a broaden aesthetic, I studied extracts from the works of philosophers such as Russell, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty and artist such as Motherwell and Rothko.

Conceptually, the body of work, resulting from my examination, is a combination of photographic images that are indicative of the shipbuilding environment. My intention is to draw the viewer into the world of the shipbuilder; to question the very notion of romance when related to shipbuilding.

From a practical standpoint I have explored new territories in film and paper development, and revisited some old ones in order that the images attain their optimum potential within the confines of practicality.

My intention was to show that romance may exist in shipbuilding but it is romance built around hard work on hard materials in a hard environment and as such is not for the faint hearted.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Bissland, JM
Keywords: photographic images, Russell, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Motherwell, Rothko, shipbuilding
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Copyright 2008 the Author

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