Degree Name

Doctor of Creative Arts


Faculty of Creative Arts


This study is an analysis of my research and working method in the production of ideas, objects and ephemera under the rubric of visual arts. In it I posit a way of making art that is an additive and intuitive process initiated by the maker and completed by the viewer. A constant theme throughout the thesis is an attempt to discuss the precise context and materials that go toward the making of an artwork, whilst recognising that art revels in many media and concepts and is not a static process.

The evolution of sixteen artworks is considered including works from the Everyone Series (1977- 1990), The high cost of living (1992-2010) and my most recent series Appropriated Circumstance (2011-). The development of my artwork is discussed in relation to various processes including ideas about organisation and variety. Chance processes such as aleatory, indeterminacy, and probability are described and contextualised.

In order to understand the context and ideas underpinning the doctoral exhibition, Appropriated Circumstance (2012) I have reflected on key works that mark transitions or changes in media, approach or content. This includes a discussion of two installations, Free Movies (SASA Adelaide 1978) and White Pointer (ICA PS1 New York 1992), in which the continuity of form is considered. Understanding the similarities of conceptual intent between these works, despite their different contexts and materiality, highlights the change in motivation and interactions of my oeuvre from 1977 – 2012.

Artistic influences discussed are drawn from a range of disciplines, including the work and writings of Percy Grainger, and in particular, The Impress of personality in unwritten music (1915); Gertrude Steinʼs, What are master-pieces and why are there so few of them? (1936); Henri Bergsonʼs ideas on intuition and duration in The Creative Mind (1946); and John Cageʼs collection of essays, Silence (1961). Their ideas and influence is discussed in relation to several of my artworks.

Sol LeWittʼs Sentences on Conceptual Art (1969), and Brian Enoʼs Organising and generating variety in the arts (1976) have constantly figured in my thinking over the last thirty-five years. Robert Pincus-Wittonʼs Theatre of The Conceptual: Autobiography and Myth (1973), and Postminimalism (1977) discovered during the research towards this thesis has contributed significantly to my thinking around the art-making process and context.

This exegesis concludes by discussing the evolution and making of my most recent body of work, Appropriated Circumstance (2011 -) discussed in the context of artists, Thomas Struth, Peter Tyndall and Eugene von Guérard, as well as ideas informed by thinking and reading around the impact of European colonisation, Indigenous relationships to country, photography and landscape.