Research musings: a direction presents itself…


Having created a number of visual pieces in recent months, many of which have been in response to, or using Jackson Pollocks later ‘pour’ paintings as a theme (see previous blog posts) I have been unsure as to the positioning of these pieces within a wider narrative of my current research concerns. Indeed, up to a point I have been unconcerned as to their apparent lack of conceptual context as primarily, they have acted as an outlet through which I have been able to tentatively feel my way back into some sort of a studio practice.

However, upon reflection of my recent activities, within both a practical and written context, and after a number of recent meetings – a clearer direction and context of my research has begun to establish itself.

It’s curious how often in a creative sense we re-tread familiar territory and travel full circle within a conceptual context. Having initially embarked on an exploration of the means and processes of improvisation within a historical and contemporary visual framework, developments led to me exploring themes of intention and non-intention in creative practice, primarily through processes of chance and aleatory. Having established a conceptual perimeter for my research it appears my concerns and pre-occupations over the intervening period have been targeted towards defining what improvisation isn’t as much as what it is. And it is within this sense that my research has achieved renewed clarity and direction.

This greater understanding as to the future direction of my research, has also heralded greater clarity as to the relevance of my recent bodies of practical work (See post entitled; A Return to Observation…) Not only that, but a narrative of sorts now seems to be projecting itself upon all my recent practical activities, including my Pollcok inspired musings. I now seem able to slot this work into a context, and establish its relevance and significance within a wider research narrative.

These recent developments also place my work back into a context 20th Century Modernism and Abstract Expressionism in particular – a period of which I am greatly familiar and interested in. It is hard to imagine or identify a period of greater artistic and creative development than in New York in the middle decades of the 20th century. Indeed, it is this post-war context of innovation, growth and profound change present through almost every aspect of society and culture that provided the fertile ground for such profound change and development within the arts. If one considers a defining characteristic of improvisation (regardless of the guise within which it exists) as a notion of intention, similarities can begin to be identified between an audible and visual manifestation of the process.

Therefore, it is to this cultural backdrop and inter-discplinary analysis of Jazz, Beat Poetry and Abstract Expressionism and all their major players that the research must be undertaken, and against which one must consider the major themes of the thesis.



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