Completed PhD

Understanding an Intuitive Approach to Abstract Painting

Monash University.

Abstract

The studio practice undertaken during the period of my PhD candidature is given historical, conceptual and practical context through an exploration of the work of selected painters who have practised over the past century: Paul Klee, Willem de Kooning, Raoul De Keyser, Mary Heilmann, Tomma Abts and Emily Kngwarreye. I share with these artists an interest in the use colour, pattern, movement, the natural world and abstraction. The study of these artists provides a framework to investigate five key themes that arise when considering their practice: the poetic, doubt, the provisional, the performative and gestural. In this study I also refer to the critical and theoretical ideas related to these themes, in particular the writings of Clement Greenberg. I consider his emphasis on the flatness of the canvas, whether the work is abstract or representational, and his views on medium specificity. From this study I have found that abstract painting does not exhaust the possibilities of these themes but generates new prospects.