Supercharged paintings move towards light and space
AffiliationSchool of Art
Document TypeMasters Research thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2018 Luke Adams
This project considers certain connections between the so-called art world and global social mobility. Is the ubiquity of some universal aesthetic frameworks implicitly promoting the ever-expanding cultural class to become even more seduced by the forces of late-capitalism? The thesis, which comprises a dissertation presented in conjunction with a studio-based investigation, is centred around three distinct, but inter-related templates for display: the generic living room TV wall unit; the painted canvas; and the gallery. I consider how each format conditions our reception of cultural information by influencing our sense of individuality, whilst as the same time signalling our inclusion in a unified non-culturally specific world view that is rooted in western modernism. Significantly, these three selected display arenas all convey a sense of universality—not necessarily through specific content, but rather through their inherent structures. I argue that these successful systems of display potentially mask otherwise visible signs of power through implicit democratic ideologies disseminated via inspirational design trends. Considered together, I demonstrate that all three offer insights into the underlying function of international systems of cultural exchange. A substantial part of this research considers the homogenising effect of Internet image-searching, especially in relation to notions of class and sophistication at a time characterised by a global democratisation of desire and appreciation for ‘good’ design principles. The artworks I have produced in conjunction with this dissertation are designed to critically engage and antagonise the already fuzzy intersection of art, architecture and design. Accordingly, I have sought to produce works that are less distinguished by traditional art-making decisions but rather emphasise compositions, materials, and principles associated within modernist and minimalist infused trends in design and architecture. This strategy seeks to recode the sublime grandeur of late-formalist abstract paintings as a kind-of banal realism perhaps more associated with marketing and pop consumerism. The physical creation of individual artworks has taken place in accordance with two predominate modes of production. Firstly, and in reference to painting, wall mounted sculptural relief works incorporating materials such as Formica composite wood panelling, plywood, hardwood, acrylic paint, enamel paint, glass, vinyl flooring, composite stone samples, imitation plants, real-plants, pots, fluorescent lights, and found objects, were produced. The second mode of production is in the digital realm, and includes digital photographic montages (combining online images with my own photography), video (using online content and making interventions within it) and creating audio tracks (to accompany the video works). Considered together, these modes of production are used as tools to psychologically position the viewer in a space in which materials, surfaces and compositions, might trigger considerations of social mobility, our relationships to design, and finally, notions of personal intimacy and memory that are activated through smart-screen technologies.
Keywordscontemporary art; installation; painting; sculpture; architecture; design; late-capitalism; late-modernism; power; internationalism; minimalism; supercharged; inspirational; timeless; aspiration; facsimile; white cube; gallery; painted canvas; living room; tv wall unit; light and space; democratic image; social framing; modes of display; poor image; individuality; cultural information; social politics; high-tech; noble rot
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