The nature of the studio: an artist's method of inquiry
AuthorFraser, Terrie Anne
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
School of Art
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2016 Dr. Terrie Anne Fraser
The studio is traditionally regarded as a hallowed space, one that underpins the artist’s process, temperament, inquiry and work. It is steeped in a history of myth and mystery. From cave to monastery, medieval guild to Renaissance study, Romantic genius working alone in the garret to a site recording experiences of natural phenomena and scientific perceptual observations, from the 1960s Factory, to the kitchen table and laptop, the nature of the studio has responded to cultural shifts and critical contexts. The demise of the studio was first coined in the 1960s and 1970s and heralded the idea of the ‘post studio’ age. In recent literature, particularly in the visual arts, the ‘fall’ of the studio is declared again and suggests it is still suspect to speak of certain kinds of solitary studio-based art practice. Yet, further debates position a ‘post-post-studio’ era, one that supports a reinvestment of the space via artistic practices of an expanded, collective or hybrid nature. These perceptions are said to be symptoms of a bigger picture: the ‘persistent lacunae’ in critical scholarship on the artist’s studio. This research seeks to address that gap. This research project backgrounds the history of the studio, its myths and legacy in order to present an understanding of the studio now. It examines the studio from the cave to the contemporary space exploring how the studio has responded to changes in cultural contexts and shifting modes of production. As we are in another cycle of change with information technology, globalisation and neoliberal values that favour ‘immaterial labour economies’, this research investigation asks: What is the nature of the studio today? What were the terms and conditions that made the proclamation, ‘post-studio’ possible? What is the nature of the post-post-studio and how do different models of the studio function across the arts in an academic setting? By examining the studios from disciplinary perspectives at the Victorian College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne, this research investigates the nature of the studio in contemporary art practices across six disciplines: Music, Dance, Art, Theatre, Production and Film and Television from student and academic perspectives, to give an Australian outlook on the function of the studio in the early 21st century. Using a mixed method study the project engages a quantitative and qualitative survey and qualitative interviews to reveal findings that declare the importance of the studio space as a vital ingredient to teaching and learning across all the art disciplines at the VCA.
Keywordsstudio; workshop; artist’s studio; post-studio; post-post-studio; art education; university; art institution; art academy; history; myth; space; place; mode of production; feminist studio critique; art practice; artistic research; artistic methodology; mixed methods; spatial pedagogy
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