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ItemModernity and contemporaneity in "Cambodian Arts" after independenceNelson, Roger ( 2017)This study of “Cambodian arts” since national independence understands modernity and contemporaneity as conceptually coextensive categories. Through detailed analyses of different artworks and their contexts—comprising painting, architecture, performance, cinema, and literature—this thesis proposes that modern and contemporary “Cambodian arts” are defined by coeval new and old forms, intersections between media, and an intertwining of art and ideology. It focuses primarily on the years 1955-1975, while also making trans-historical comparisons by interspersing more recent art practices into its discussion.
ItemLooking back: contemporary feminist art in Australia and New ZealandMaher, Harriet ( 2016)This thesis sets out to examine the ways in which feminism manifests itself in contemporary art, focusing in particular on Australia and New Zealand. Interviews were conducted with practicing contemporary artists Kelly Doley, FANTASING (Bek Coogan, Claire Harris, Sarah-Jane Parton, Gemma Syme), Deborah Kelly, Jill Orr and Hannah Raisin. During these interviews, a number of key themes emerged which form the integral structure of the thesis. A combination of information drawn from interviews, close reading of art works, and key theoretical texts is used to position contemporary feminist art in relation to its recent history. I will argue that the continuation of feminist practices and devices in contemporary practice points to a circular pattern of repetition in feminist art, which resists a linear teleology of art historical progress. The relationship between feminism and contemporary art lies in the way that current practices revisit crucial issues which continue to cycle through the lived experience of femininity, such as the relationship to the body, to labour and capital, to the environment, and to structures of power. By acknowledging that these issues are not tied to a specific historical period, I argue that feminist art does not constitute a short moment of prolific production in the last few decades of the twentieth century, but is a sustained movement which continually adapts and shifts in order to remain abreast of contemporary issues.
ItemOf conceptual deserts: a Deleuzian approach to Aboriginal artROWE, ASTARTE ( 2013)This thesis departs from the belief that Australian Aboriginal art can be understood on the basis of Western epistemology. Yet since traditional forms of knowledge are denied to the non-initiated individual, how can one approach this art? We argue that it is the very synapses and gaps in our knowledge of Aboriginal art that need to be marshalled towards the creation of a non-representational ‘thought without image.’ In this sense, Aboriginal art is conceived at the limits of what can be known, yet it constitutes a threshold for ushering forth a secular form of knowledge in which the ‘unthought’ forms a basis for the ‘thought.’ The task of this thesis is to dismantle a discursive hermeneutics that would propose to conceptualise this art. It detects a non-dialogical current that draws us into a highly solipsistic (non)relation with the art. Solipsism is the precondition for an encounter with an art and socius that is always-already ‘missed,’ or ‘eclipsed.’ Using Deleuzian and Deleuzo-Guattarian philosophies, we forge uncharted ways of ‘disarticulating’ our knowledge of Aboriginal art. This is not done through a direct encounter with Aboriginal art, but rather through the works of two artists, Albert Namatjira and contemporary artist Rod Moss – both of whom register the epiphenomenal conditions of an indigeneity that has undergone a becoming-Aboriginal. This becoming is triggered once an imperceptible difference-in-itself is exerted in Namatjira’s oeuvre – where the very inability to establish a visual ‘difference’ between his art and the pastoral genre is precisely how the indigenous character of his work is elicited. In Moss’s case, the pure repetition of the Aboriginal stereotype in his art is not couched within social critique. Rather, his faithful repetition of the stereotype eclipses our ability to recognise hereafter what lies before us in a Moss painting. The repetition of the stereotype for itself cloaks and withdraws it from our episteme. In the application of Deleuzian and Deleuzo-Guattarian philosophies to these two artists’ work, we are far removed from any means of accessing Aboriginal art through the paradigm of the known. Yet the sense of its power is intensely magnified.
ItemJeff Wall: reading picturesMERRITT, NAOMI ( 2013)This thesis examines four seminal artworks by Jeff Wall. Through close readings I offer insights into the intellectual work in Wall’s picture-making and the dynamic relation between his writing and art. I argue that Wall’s photographs share the same resistance to resolution as the historical works that he draws upon. Such ambiguities indicate Wall’s interest in the instability of what he calls the Western Concept of the Picture, heightened by the need to negotiate transitions in the history of photo-media.