Master of Creative Arts - Research
Faculty of Creative Arts
Watson, Leonie, Collecting the self, MCA thesis, Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, 2006. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/601
This study examines the intertwining of the body and the self and the way this is represented in the visual arts. This research is informed by the bodily interventions of feminist artists and new conceptions of the self as multiple, a "locus" or meeting place of desires, beliefs, language forms and histories. This "self' is extended by technology, which dissolves boundaries of scale, of inside and outside. The paintings ask whether defined gender boundaries can be blurred, whether discrete notions of body and self can be merged, through ambiguities of inside/outside, using folds and concealments to make new kinds of bodies. This work proposes a body/self that is always in parts and in process; continually fragmenting, yet recombining to find moments of "wholeness", however transitory. The suite of paintings titled Messengers (2005 - 2006) represent some of these fleeting moments of apparent wholeness. They are complete only at the moment we see them in the light that glances across them. They represent an "incomplete" wholeness. The figures in Messengers are hybrid forms. Knotted and folded into phallic, testicular, cervical and vaginal orifices and protuberances, they present ambiguously-gendered "creatures" that merge inside and outside, self and other. These new kinds of bodies - fragmented, dispersed, reassembled - enable us to see ourselves as we feel - multiple, in flux and yet held together by a desire for unity - however momentary and contingent.