Moonlighting in Moffatt: restructuring art as personal experience

Knight-Mudie, Karen (1999) Moonlighting in Moffatt: restructuring art as personal experience. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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This research probes the complex interplay between art and personal experience. The recent burgeoning of multiculturalism and an awareness of global economy have contributed to rapidly increasing visual communication which now challenges the primacy of verbal signs thus leading to the possibility that established and confirmed notions of both verbal signs and visual signs might require re-thinking. It is also possible that, in a world in which mass communication is used by the few to foster a sense of vicarious experience in the many, the notion of experience as the compulsion to think otherwise than one has been thinking might also need examination from a singular point of view.

Such a point of view must be personal; hence this research emanates from my own experience of making artworks. However, the context in which artworks are made can be seen to influence the way in which one decides either to foreground or background certain data. Inevitably one's roles of artist, art educator and community member contribute to ways in which background experiences and knowledge are recognized as continuing forces that agitate the tools in one's bead leading to new ways of thinking about one's artwork and the impacts such artwork might have on other members of the community.

In adopting a personal point of view, this research operates within the realm of visual and narrative autobiography although, because artworks are created to be seen by others, philosophical speculation is necessary to prepare the ground for heuristic inquiry to take place on behalf of others. In this sense, this research offers a synthesis whereby an overview of our Australian heritage, an investigation of ideas emanating from semiotics, meaning, politics and cognitive psychology uncover the ground upon which I make a body of artworks. While such a synthesis presents an appropriate setting for investigating ways in which art might be seen as a social construct or as a means of artistic expression from a global perspective, the significance of art as personal experience can only be exposed by the artist probing beneath the surface of communal conventions.

In examining my own processes of making artworks I unpack various background associations which influence the way in which I respond to visual and verbal data gathered from field trips to the Mt Moffatt National Park, a remote area of western Queensland. During these field trips such data were compiled using photographic means and a visual diary, both of which serve as reference material for this research in which changes to my thinking about art and modifications to techniques used for creating artworks, can be noted. Of particular significance is the way in which narrative suggests connections between people, places and myself as artist while also functioning to link visual and verbal data.

Such changes to my thinking and processes of making art objects influence the direction the work takes as a visual instrument in the form of an exhibition which might be used by others as a means of facilitating their sensory responses to artworks. In this way the continuum of making, interpreting, translating and re-making images using the familiar genre of narrative as a conduit for exploring the less familiar artworks displayed in a public gallery is investigated. Such investigation exposes forces which play dominant roles in challenging me to probe the internal nature of experience leading to changes in my perception whilst also highlighting ways in which viewers make connections between an artwork and themselves. On the one hand, from a personal perspective, I am aware of multiple implications for my art practice and for art education. On the other hand, viewer responses indicate ways in which can can be personally experienced by someone external to the artist.

Item ID: 38412
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: art; artists; artworks; connections; drawings; exhibitions; experiences; images; James Kenniff; Kenniff brothers; Mount Moffatt National Park; Mt Moffatt National Park; Patrick Kenniff; oral; paintings; verbal; visual
Date Deposited: 26 May 2015 03:40
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190502 Fine Arts (incl Sculpture and Painting) @ 50%
19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190504 Performance and Installation Art @ 50%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft) @ 100%
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