Year

2017

Degree Name

Masters of Philosophy (Research)

Department

School of the Arts, English and Media

Abstract

As a sculptor I am interested in telling stories, particularly those that are the foundation of cultures. In my thesis I argue that traditional narratives need to be retold and reinterpreted for contemporary audiences. Using transmedial narratology as a framework, I explore how narratives can be told in sculptures. Transmedial narratology contends that narrative can be conveyed through all mediums without losing coherence. This argument underpins my research question; how can traditional narratives be translated into material expressions? Within this framework, Werner Wolf identified sculpture as a limited narrative medium. My research project identifies narrative possibilities beyond these limitations through material engagement. Extending on Paul Carter’s material thinking, my thesis explores the relationships between artist and materials, and between artwork and audience as the key method to reinterpret and re-tell stories. My exegetical methodology is reflective practice – a process through which thought is integrally linked with my creative actions in the reinterpretation of traditional narratives. I further this exploration by analysing the works of collaborative artist Adam Rish, sculptor Linde Ivimey, and textile artist Mister Finch as artists whose material expressions retell stories. I also examine the installation and exhibition process of Ian Gentle, Terence Koh and Fiona Hall, paying particular attention to how the use of space assists in the setting of contexts. In the development of the creative component, I argue that material selection, construction processes, and spatial installation are all material facets where narratives are embedded within my three-dimensional timber works. My exegesis and creative work function is a self-reflexive dialogue that mutually informs and actively pursues ways where meaningful narratives can be reinterpreted by contemporary audiences.

The outcomes of this research project forms an important insight into translations of traditional narratives into contemporary sculptural forms and adds to the existing argument and knowledge surrounding narrative.

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