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Title: Mark making and melancholia in painting : a language for visual representation of the melancholic
Author: Newton, Michael William
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 7991
Awarding Body: Bath Spa University
Current Institution: Bath Spa University
Date of Award: 2014
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What are the elements (marks) that support a melancholic narrative in painting and in particular how can they be harnessed to heighten the feeling and create an 'authentic' melancholic work from a painting of simple and natural motifs? summarise the changes in the meaning of the term melancholia, especially in the last two centuries, and discuss the validity of melancholy painting today. I summarise the key developments to the debate in the 1980s between the artists and the theoretical art critics and hypothesise that paintings that refer to this 'death of painting' are inherently melancholic. I seek out the "language of marks" for expressing melancholy by extrapolating from an examination of 100 paintings but fail in my attempt to quantify them objectively. The assumption that feeling is grounded in the formal properties is tested through detailed examination and subjective analysis of key extant works, concentrating specifically on how colour and expressive mark-making can be used by the artist to enhancing the emotional content. I use examples of extant paintings to show that it is possible to use context as a way of adding to the melancholic content of a contemporary painting. Practical Study The practical research takes the form of painted samples, copies of extant contemporary works, explorations of melancholic motifs (metaphors) and finally a body of work testing the integration of the theoretical analysis with the practical work. Conclusions In addition to melancholic meaning being grounded in the formal properties of a painting, expressive marks can be appropriated and re-presented but the requirement for them to be authentic is open to conjecture. However, referencing the 'death of painting' can enhance melancholic content without the use of irony or becoming kitsch.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available