The between space: narrative in contemporary visual practice
AffiliationSchool of Art, Victorian College of the Arts
Document TypePhD thesis
CitationsDaw, K. (2005). The between space: narrative in contemporary visual practice. PhD thesis, School of Art, Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne.
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© 2005 Dr. Kate Daw
The research will demonstrate how narratives function in specific contemporary artworks. Key to this investigation will be the relationship created between the narrative and the viewer. Through the explication of key artworks the research seeks to explore both the general historical shifts in the use of narratives in our culture in the last century and the particular, fragmented, inconclusive nature of narratives present in current visual art practice. The last two decades of the twentieth century saw radical changes in the ways in which artists employed narrative structures within their visual art practice. Using key works by the artists Edouard Manet and Edward Hopper as a historical starting point, this thesis will consider some of the alternative narrative structures utilised in contemporary visual art. The studio component and the written exegesis examine the influence that film and literature have played in this change, and consider the role of the viewer in relation to narrative structures in contemporary visual art. The exegesis first considers the subject of narrative itself and maps out the boundaries, terms and definitions to be employed. It briefly analyses the uses of narrative in visual art; charts its virtual disappearance along with the rise of modernism, abstraction and conceptual movements in the twentieth century and finally focuses on its emphasis in the visual artwork from the 1960s onwards. The exegesis examines the changing conventions of narrative in visual art as evidenced in key examples to demonstrate how new shifts in visual art narrative structures have occurred and emerged. The research offers an analysis of narrative in contemporary practice in the 1990s. With a detailed reading of the work of select contemporary artists, the thesis demonstrates the multiplicity of narrative threads in current visual art. The exegesis concludes with a final chapter documenting and analysing the development, exploration and manifestation of the artwork made during the research project. The artwork is presented in a major exhibition, The Between Space, at the Margaret Lawrence Galleries, Victorian College of the Arts, in October 2005.
Keywords20th century modern art; narrative art
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