Degree Name

Doctor of Creative Arts (PhD)


Faculty of Creative Arts


This study investigates the visual language embodied in the idea of the void in the creation of works of visual art. Through the exploration of ancient Chinese ink painting such as literati painting and Chan (Zen) ink painting (Kao: 1992, Zong: 1981), western geometrical abstract painting of the early twentieth century (Harrison and Wood: 1992, Malevich: 1968), and the abstract paintings of contemporary Taiwanese artists, such as Hsiao Chin, Liu Ku-Sung and Lo Jui-lin (Hsiao: 1991, Yip: 1987) the research examines the representative meaning of the void and its visual characteristics in different eras and cultures. The energy of the void as it is manifest in various forms of art is explored in both theoretical and creative research. This study includes ancient Chinese ink painting that explored how the ideas of Taoist chi and the emptiness of Chan (Zen) were embodied in the expression of brushstroke, colour and space and brought a profound and simple visual language to Chinese art. The discussion illustrates how western geometrical abstract painting of the early twentieth century, especially Suprematism, constructed significant new forms that revolved around the idea of the void. A combination of eastern philosophy concerning the void and the expressive methods of western abstraction is embodied in contemporary Taiwanese art and has become the vehicle in the exploration of the self. This is also the main concern in my digital creations. My creative work introduces an artform of abstract sublimation. Its characteristics of simplicity and tranquillity convey understanding gained from nature and cultural awareness. The void in my work is used to enhance the importance of introspection, combined with modern technology. Through the process of meditating in the medium of the computer, the artforms evoked by the void have produced a new visual language that presents an intuitive and spontaneous inner imagery. This work articulates a tranquil and harmonious aesthetic, related to a long visual tradition that has emerged as a consequence of art processes linked to the purification of mind.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.