Second Research Paper one-on-one

David Somers bio photo By David Somers Comment

The second one-on-one with my research supervisor Gareth Polmeer.

Unfortunately I had to postpone my first one-on-one with Gareth so although this is technically the second one-on-one that was scheduled, its the first time we’ve managed to speak.

What was discussed

The draft that I submitted, and that Gareth reviewed, was about 2000 words in length, what I provided was pretty much final text, and its about about 2/3 to 1/2 complete, and it needs a bit of extra text to expand and fill out on some of the ideas presented.

Thoughts from Gareth, for my argument and strength of essay, to explicate in detail in the beginning what I meant in this shift from EM to OR. The terms are a bit mystifying and need explanation… unfortunately I did art history it go into me… its a major claim, and art historically some might contest, the idea that works shifts from basis for some knowledge or higher understanding to being concerned with itself or other ways that an epistemology to ontology…. a bit of unpacking and demystification… who the main voices are in that narrative.

The subject of the paper is the motivation is taking as a given that this shift is historically accurate version of events. How do we explain its motivation: what was the engine that drove it.

The bit that was missing: the social milieu at the time; suprematism in Russia; the two world war; the disbursement of artists; the rebuilding; New York as center for art; the utopian dream gone; critics like Greenburg.

I intended to structure the paper into two part. The first part as an historical perspective of what was happening, and the second part would be a retrospective of the social milieu, why things happened, the Zeitgeist. And I also wanted to bring to the paper, and this relates to my art practice, is how in non-objective art certain visual features that keep repeating (e..g hard-edge colour fields). Visually yes, but the spectator needs to understand what was happening at the time it was painted or created… and that goes back to the motivation of the artist at the time, and that the model shift — EM to OR — was a by-product of what was going on at the time.

From Gareth. Georg Hegel, his lectures on fine art in the 1830s anticipated this, or already announced it: The end of art idea (“End of Art Thesis”). Art had come to and end in so far as it had failed to be the most significant means by which we could develop a full self understanding or freedom and the artist has become too concerned with any subject matter, and art had weakened. In classical culture it had failed to be the highest that it could be any more.

These things are like fashion. They come in cycles. Run their course. Something else comes along.

Epistemological Model to Ontological Reduction is a term I’m using from YA-Bois. Explain the original of the narrative. Background depth.

Gareth commented that the way that I write about the work is thorough and systematic, the discussion flows and moves along quite well. He, quite rightly guessed, that I had some art history training; one year of my undergrad was in History of Art.

Things to add: certain elements that repeat throughout the canon, e.g. hard-edge colour fields. This is more an observation. Yes, there has been a reduction, but also visual repetition done in different times and places, so same visual effect, but down for a different reason, a different motivation.

Mondrian’s writings on his works, there is a lot of spiritual discourse and connections to nature. Something ethereal and inorganic yet resulted in the most strict and “tight” visual work. By inalienating nature, opposing nature, get closer to it.

Hilda af Klint. Very different take. Also Thesospy.

That’s the defence of the Hegelian. The Zeitgeist: a spirit emerges in an age through different activities because its a sensuous embodiment of a movement of history.

Erwin Panofsky: Perspective of symbolic form, an adaptation of Alois Riegl who’d written on symbolic form. The idea that forms emerge historically.

There is a lot of art speak and art commentary, but very few write about aesthetic theories, like Hegel. Theodor W. Adorno in the 1960s wrote about the total negation of art due to horror and atrocities during the war, that art couldn’t express anything positive… enamoured of Samuel Beckett, Arnold Schoenberg, modernists, who negated meaning in the work.

The post-war high modernism into early conceptualism is marked by a period of post was theory about the negation of art, arts protest against the war.

I got as far as touching one Bridget riley and I planned to add Rothko. The spiritual side of him. The spiritual does recur, it doesn’t get lost. Even Adorno, the pessimist and negative, held out that art was a much as about negation of the troubled world it also offered a spiritual longing or promise. And then post-modernism comes along and then it all went wrong. My take it that art then moved to being about the market and money, the gallery system, Jeff Koons as a prime example. Are we now at a cusp. Lots happening: is capitalism in trouble; Brexit; Trump for President.

Gareth then offers this great comment. Is this symptomatic of the loss of the idea of art being able to express something objective or true. Art was once about redeeming the highest possibilities of human fulfilment and life… if it becomes purely relativized, commercialise, degreased to an amusement, looses its seriousness does it rob us of a spiritual or cultural possibility. That was the high utopianism or modernist work.

Trying to bring a spin to my paper. The reoccurrence of forms. Build that into the introductory argument. EM to OR shift, precipitates other events and possibilities that bring about these types of patterns and re-occurances in certain types of work… an interesting way of bringing something interesting to this narrative.

Shaping the debate. Do I want to speculate on a return to the tradition. A need of motivation to an alternate shift. Do we live in an age or ontological reduction.

Nuts and bolts. Formatting and referencing is fine.

My own voice will be starting to come through with the additions that we discussed. Drawing on good context and analysis. Bring in the critical commentary and the original suggestions: the recurrence of forms.

The abstract needs to be opened up a bit more. There is room. Its very compact. Can do about 250 words.

Keywords are fine. I might change “abstract” to “non-objective”.

I grouped the illustration at the back, rather than in the main body. Fine. Good to working on the assumption that whoever is reading this may not be familiar with the works, so useful.

Thoughts about the next steps

A bit more research to do. A bit more writing to do. I’m relieved that what I’ve done so far seems to make sense.

I need to find a week to lock myself away and get the paper finished.

If time, drop Gareth draft to quickly review before I submit the definitive version.

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