Monash University

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Fragile landscapes : material analogies for precarious states

posted on 2017-02-21, 00:12 authored by Baxter, Andrea Jayne
This body of artistic research seeks to find material analogies for physical and psychological states of uncertainty and transformation. Alluding to the autobiographical, the research addresses the unexpected and unexplained moment when control gives way to indeterminacy. Navigating the unbounded offers either immense possibility or anxiety of the new. Acceptance of the challenge to revel in the unknown and embrace the future has been a material and conceptual outcome of the research. The overlooked object, abandoned and obsolete, provides the medium for the studio research. An accumulation of found glassware still carrying residues of memory and the passage of time was used to explore these themes. The material was folded, slumped, stretched and merged utilising intense temperatures over extended durations. The final works may be understood as material analogies of the condition of fragility, uncertainty and transformation. As with all poetic form, analogy opens a space of identification for others encountering the work. The studio process itself has offered new insights into states of uncertainty. The material outcomes of this process revealed an unpredictable narrative of transformation depicting a trajectory of movement from the past to the future. The glass forms produced are a document of frozen movement; a landscape of instability and transformation. Allowing the process of becoming and matter in movement morphogenically, I have revealed a more emphatic and poetic description of uncertainty, displacement and fragmentation. The exegesis traverses the past as nostalgia and longing through the writings of Gaston Bachelard and Sveltana Boym, and Henri Bergson’s theory on creation of memory. Walter Benjamin and Susan Stewart provide insights into material as matter and Elizabeth Grosz’s argument that we must embrace and revel in unknown futures. The art of Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Julie Mehretu, Tacita Dean and Cornelia Parker provide the framework for discussion of duration and transformation.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Leslie Eastman

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Fine Art


Master of Fine Art

Degree Type



Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture

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