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The Anadyomene Movement: metamorphics of figure-ground

The Anadyomene Movement: metamorphics of figure-ground
The Anadyomene Movement: metamorphics of figure-ground
‘Figure-ground’ is about the production of meaning based on the perception of contrasts or binary oppositions and segregations. Viewers of my paintings, and of the kind of paintings that interest me, have the impression that the ‘figure’ subsides or slips or fades into ‘ground’, or that the ‘ground’ is more powerful or dominant than the ‘figure’, or that the ‘figure’ is insecurely attached, suggesting it is incapable, unwilling, too acquiescent or complicit to fully differentiate itself from the ‘ground’. I address flux, mutation, indistinctness and complementarity within the visual field of painting. I develop and extend the heuristic context for the interpretation of my studio practice and for work of a similar kind, and then feedback this new context into my practice in order to generate new works, also in the process shedding a new light on my interpretative models. Beyond this, I also make a more general argument for the re alignment of the relationship between art theory and practice - one that can better incorporate a sense of in between-ness, indistinctness or liminality. My approach is comparative: I look at East Asian art and ideas and, in particular, deploy the writings of the French Sinologist and philosopher François Jullien, in whose work there is the attempt to expand Western epistemology, ontology, semantics and aesthetics via a discussion of Chinese thought and aesthetics. Jullien proposes a paradigm that draws the ‘in-out’ respiratory rhythm or pulse within the perceptual field towards the centre of a theory of representation, a theory that seeks to account for consciousness from the ‘inside’ rather than the ‘outside’. The consequence of this relocation of agency is an interpretative framework that is firmly grounded in a nondualistic and holistic approach, foregrounding affect and empathetic relationships between artist and work, viewer and work, and self and the world. Traditional East Asian thought begins with similar premises to poststructuralism in the West: the ‘self’ is an illusion and the possibility of knowledge of reality independent of thought is dismissed as untenable because there is no objective reality accessible to us. Everything depends on the bias of the mind, rather than on anything we can identify as an innate attribute of reality itself, thus there is no escape from our lived experience, and we are profoundly limited by the interpretive knowledge of our mind; we are trapped within the ‘prison house of language’. But within the different recursive orientations that characterize ‘East’ and ‘West’ the interpretation and consequences of these insights are understood in quite different ways. I explore why this should be the case and what some of the consequences are, both theoretically through the written text and performatively through my studio work.
Morley, Simon
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Morley, Simon
fbe90290-2a76-41d8-9c1b-ebb614ef5310
Bishop, Ryan
a4f07e31-14a0-44c4-a599-5ed96567a2e1

(2012) The Anadyomene Movement: metamorphics of figure-ground. University of Southampton, Winchester School of Art, Doctoral Thesis, 180pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

‘Figure-ground’ is about the production of meaning based on the perception of contrasts or binary oppositions and segregations. Viewers of my paintings, and of the kind of paintings that interest me, have the impression that the ‘figure’ subsides or slips or fades into ‘ground’, or that the ‘ground’ is more powerful or dominant than the ‘figure’, or that the ‘figure’ is insecurely attached, suggesting it is incapable, unwilling, too acquiescent or complicit to fully differentiate itself from the ‘ground’. I address flux, mutation, indistinctness and complementarity within the visual field of painting. I develop and extend the heuristic context for the interpretation of my studio practice and for work of a similar kind, and then feedback this new context into my practice in order to generate new works, also in the process shedding a new light on my interpretative models. Beyond this, I also make a more general argument for the re alignment of the relationship between art theory and practice - one that can better incorporate a sense of in between-ness, indistinctness or liminality. My approach is comparative: I look at East Asian art and ideas and, in particular, deploy the writings of the French Sinologist and philosopher François Jullien, in whose work there is the attempt to expand Western epistemology, ontology, semantics and aesthetics via a discussion of Chinese thought and aesthetics. Jullien proposes a paradigm that draws the ‘in-out’ respiratory rhythm or pulse within the perceptual field towards the centre of a theory of representation, a theory that seeks to account for consciousness from the ‘inside’ rather than the ‘outside’. The consequence of this relocation of agency is an interpretative framework that is firmly grounded in a nondualistic and holistic approach, foregrounding affect and empathetic relationships between artist and work, viewer and work, and self and the world. Traditional East Asian thought begins with similar premises to poststructuralism in the West: the ‘self’ is an illusion and the possibility of knowledge of reality independent of thought is dismissed as untenable because there is no objective reality accessible to us. Everything depends on the bias of the mind, rather than on anything we can identify as an innate attribute of reality itself, thus there is no escape from our lived experience, and we are profoundly limited by the interpretive knowledge of our mind; we are trapped within the ‘prison house of language’. But within the different recursive orientations that characterize ‘East’ and ‘West’ the interpretation and consequences of these insights are understood in quite different ways. I explore why this should be the case and what some of the consequences are, both theoretically through the written text and performatively through my studio work.

Text
Final PhD thesis - Simon Morley.pdf - Other
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More information

Published date: December 2012
Organisations: University of Southampton, Winchester School of Art

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 354402
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/354402
PURE UUID: b6e128a7-570a-4bb5-abd6-d04ca6dc03e2

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 21 Oct 2013 10:12
Last modified: 18 Jun 2018 16:31

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