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Title: The Anadyomene Movement : metamorphics of figure-ground
Author: Morley, Simon
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 9584
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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‘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.
Supervisor: Bishop, Ryan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: ND Painting