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Title: Art allegory and autobiography
Author: Pairpoint, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 5062
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2012
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My research for the Doctorate programme began in 2007 by exploring how to translate and reinvent cinematic imagery and searching for ways of combining cinema, painting, and autobiography. Initially I looked at theories of allegory in order to establish how to integrate those ideas and elements in my own work. I then experimented with a variety of ways of using cinema imagery coupled with my own photographs to make large scale autobiographical paintings. From time to time social commentary would occur in the work as I responded with anger or despair at current events. My research into art and allegory led me to the writings of Walter Benjamin, Craig Owens and Bainard Cowan. After considering a range of artists I selected the painter Daniel Richter and the filmmaker Peter Greenaway, to research in depth. I experimented by manipulating imagery on a computer prior to making a painting. My supervisors saw one of the paintings that resulted from this process as a significant breakthrough piece. (Oh Carole 2009 Fig.15 Page 24)) What I did not acknowledge or recognise was that the genesis of this particular work was a deep-seated emotional response to a past event. My continued research into film literature and interpretations of allegory was leading me in many directions, each seemingly more interesting than the last, and each providing me with a mass of imagery which I felt compelled to act upon. Part of this compulsion was the need I felt to continually justify the work as an obligation to the status or hierarchy of the Doctorate programme. This sense of obligation became the driver for the compulsive production of my work. My supervisors identified a second significant painting. This was a portrait of my late father (Dad 2010 Fig.18 Page28) which, once again was my response to the release of deeply felt emotion that had surfaced. These feelings were buried, as I continued making a high volume of work, with often as many as three separate genres of paintings being made at the same time. I was not allowing time to reflect or analyse the significant meaning in those works. I reached a further turning point, a breakthrough painting, which was a selfportrait (Child Me 2010 Fig.19 Page29) in which I was accessing a genuine emotional response to past events in my life rather than using second hand emotions suggested by cinema or literature. I went on to make other paintings in which I tried to respond honestly, emotionally and imaginatively to events in my past. There was a sense of release in making this new body of work. I began to reflect that the earlier work was impersonal and was made to satisfy a self-imposed obligation and work ethic. 4 With the latest work I cannot wholly explain how I arrive at the images or necessarily what they are about but I recognise that they are informed by my imagination, which the previous way of working and thinking did not allow for. In the later work there is a far greater sense of self expression, and the self imposed constraints and self conscious attitudes are disappearing. Accessing these new imaginative and emotional responses has not been an easy process for me. I think that the perseverance and excessive volume of work made throughout the programme may well have been a necessary process to enable me to arrive at a point where my imagination and intuition are a trusted part of my methodology.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral