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Abstraction and its processes : a studio investigation of the ongoing relevance of non-figurative art

posted on 08.02.2017, 04:51 by Kelly, Wendy Louise
How a painting “is”, the nature of its being, is partially determined by tools such as paint, canvas and brush; the history of what has been done in painting up to the current moment, “one can paint only out of the history of paint”; and an analysis of the concept of “medium”, as a grammar or family of concepts that cluster around the medium of paint.1. (Mark Titmarsh Art Monthly May. 2006.) The objective of this research is a studio investigation to augment an examination of non-figurative abstraction and demonstrate its relevance and continued viability through adaptability and continued exploration. The resulting body of work embodies my interpretation of non-figurative abstraction, communication, visual language and processes. The aim of this exegesis is to investigate abstraction and honour its relevance in two dimensional visual arts and its role as a language for visual communication. It will explore the application of abstraction as a form of visual expression. The exegesis will examine the historical and sociological processes by which abstraction has evolved, and also examine process in a practical way as an underpinning of the development of abstract art. The evolution of abstraction has meant that the materials and methods of mark making have been freed to be interpreted in complex and innovative ways. Abstraction’s role within visual language has been to communicate with an intensity that can touch a wide range of emotions and reactions. Abstraction warrants investigation because of its past and continuing contribution to visual art. As a visual language, the constant re-invention of abstraction indicates relevance, and its influence is being felt contemporaneously. As an artist, some developments within the genre have influenced my work more than others, and examples of artists, methods, and materials from past “movements” or “generations” of abstraction will be explored to address the problematical vera causa within development. Non-figurative abstraction, the role of its evolutionary process and the impact of material processes therein, will form the basis of this discussion. 1. Mark Titmarsh. Shapes of Inhabitation, Painting in the Expanded Field”, Art Monthly no 189 (2006)


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Bernard Hoffert

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Fine Art


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture