Degree Name

Doctor of Creative Arts


Faculty of Creative Arts


This exegesis provides a context for the body of work in the exhibition desire. It examines the notion of desire and the emotional/psychological narratives that initiate the paintings in the exhibition. The Baroque and Surrealism are discussed as historical reference points to which the work owes certain of its material and symbolic characteristics as well as aspects of its psychological content. It also undertakes a historical and theoretical consideration of drapery and drapery-derived forms that contribute to an understanding of the figures residing in the space of the paintings.

The text positions the paintings in desire in relation to selected historical and contemporary works: paintings from the Baroque period, Surrealist paintings, and the paintings of the contemporary artists Alison Watt (Scotland, 1966-), Jude Rae (Australia, 1956-) and Amanda Robins (Australia, 1961-), finding in their use of materials, methods and imagery a range of similar concerns.

At the core of this thesis is the discussion of the making of the works. In the studio process personal psychological content and individual experience is given shape, is staged and lit then finally rendered in the form of painting. This is the meeting point of historical and contemporary, material and theoretical, public and private.

The thesis begins with a consideration of aspects of the Baroque important to my work, followed by an examination of selected Baroque paintings, paying attention to their optical qualities, symbolic content and psychological implications. The text continues with a closer look at the paintings in desire in relation to selected Baroque and Surrealist works. Further resonances with Surrealist works are identified in the development of the figures in the paintings from objects made in the studio. The painted figures are then examined in relation to historical and contemporary works that use folds and draperies, in a broader discussion of the meanings of drapery in painting.