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Title: Contouring : women, walking and art
Author: Lloyd, Alison
ISNI:       0000 0004 9348 7283
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2019
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This practice-led thesis on women, walking and art combines a critical, analytical discussion of women artists of the 1960s, 70s and early 80s with a reflective evaluation of the emergence of walking in my art practice. It was driven initially by my experience as an art practitioner and recreational hill walker, and from art literature which foregrounds historical walking practices, largely within the field of postmodern sculpture. My primary research question asks, ‘How have women artists used walking as artistic methods and processes?' This enabled me to develop a case study in which I discuss walking as an unacknowledged aspect of work by Marie Yates, Michelle Stuart and Nancy Holt, whose work is usually situated within the Conceptual art movement. In order to structure an argument for women and walking art I developed my walking skills. I adapted navigation, route-finding skills and contouring as artistic strategies, tools and processes while walking in Glen Nevis, the Dark Peak and Dartmoor in parallel with my historical research. These two aspects of the thesis came together during my retracing of Nancy Holt's footsteps where she walked on Dartmoor and saw an opportunity to make the work that became Trail Markers (1969). My experience of retracing Holt's footsteps was a significant turning point in my understanding of the reciprocal relationship between theory and practice, and how practice can become a method and process for testing art theories. My contribution to knowledge is in the formulation of a new approach to making walking art, linked to a new approach to critical enquiry, where following in an artist's footsteps may serve to illuminate the significance of walking in the work. To do the latter, I developed a walking art where I used the pragmatic elements of recreational walking, such as, meticulous route planning, advanced navigation, and other measures for walking safely on my own in remote rural landscapes. In prioritising the form of navigation that mainly uses the map's contours I adopted contouring as a metaphor and a personal synonym to describe my solitary walking away from the footpaths, and without a desire to move upwards as a goal. My research concludes that I located a process-driven method of validating walking within contemporary art practice and I argue that this can be accommodated through theoretical research and within concepts of practice as research in contemporary art.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Loughborough University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Women ; Walking ; Art