Session 8b:Illustrating Space

1st Global Conference


Wednesday 14th September – Friday 16th September 2011
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

The Sensation of Place: translating the experiential sensation of a space into a work of art.
Ann Holt
Faculty of Art and Design, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

The concept of landscape and landscape painting provides a vehicle through which to explore the ethereal interplay/integral relationship between physical materiality of space and fields of consciousness. How we experience time and space are central to this investigation.

Landscape painting has been an acute concern throughout the Australian cultural tradition in terms of acknowledging and reconciling our history and how we experience and connect to place. A sense of identity, belonging and mythologising the landscape is evident in both black and white cultural constructs.

This paper will discuss the possibilities of unravelling the complex alignment of what forms our sensation and experience of a place. I will analyse how these sensations are translated into my panoramic format paintings of Bruny Island off the east coast of Southern Tasmania. The island peripheral provides a natural boundary in which to contain the investigation and transcribe the lived reality, that moment in time, and convey this experience to the viewer within the confines of a gallery space.

I don’t know what I’m looking for but I’ll know it when I see it.
Andrew Sneddon
Edinburgh College of Art and Sheffield Hallam University, Scotland

The cultural geographer and philosopher David Harvey suggests that like space and time, place is a social construct and the only interesting question left to be asked on the subject is by what social process(es) is place constructed.

This paper sets out to explore the construction methods employed by contemporary visual artists for whom Place is central to their practice. Specific approaches are historically retraced revealing our understanding and desire to explore methods of representing place and how this enquiry has influenced our renewed contemporary interest and understanding of place. It is not possible to separate any study of place from that of space as both are intrinsically linked and are often interchangeable in literature and speech, therefore it becomes important to explore this relationship in some depth. The representation of place inheres many social and political forces, which form it and continue to condition our understanding of place. If place functions as a manifestation of those associations, then by extension, the space experience of an artwork could be said to reside within the realm of place; space by virtue of our experience of it, of what we bring to it is afforded the significance of place.

Through the study of particular artist’s and artworks such as Antony Gormley’s Angel of the North (Gateshead) and Jeremy Deller’s Battle of Orgreave (Sheffield), two similar in theme but very different approaches to place making and representation of place would be considered. The paper also allows for thoughts to emerge and tested on the role serendipity and sagacity have had on the formulation and reception of these works. Both artworks created a great deal of heated public debate at the time and continue to do so and have generated a great deal of community engagement that questions and interrogates the idea of place.

Download Draft Conference Paper (pdf)

Figure and Field: Space, Place and the Situation of Visual Artists
Duncan McKay
Edith Cowan University, Australia

One of the difficulties facing social scientists is to obtain data that gives voice to the agency of the social actor whilst also making real the social structures and cultural contexts in relation to which each individual acts. Often the data and methods at our disposal allow us either to focus attention on the intimate context of the individual actor or to pan outwards for a panoramic view more amenable to the production of scientific generalization. With the figure and the field framed separately in sharp focus, it is often difficult to make out the key features, actions and relations of the middle ground, a constantly negotiated realm in which private spaces are situated within public space.

In studies of the work of visual artists there is often a similar, hazy disconnection between the personal spaces of creativity and the public realms in which such work attains significance. Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of the field of cultural production, and Howard S. Becker’s notion of art worlds are amongst the significant attempts to provide sociological models that situate the work of artists in their broader contexts. As part of my research project, examining artistic labour in Australia, I have drawn upon the CVs of contemporary visual artists as a source of cultural and social data that may potentially assist in sharpening images of the Western Australian spaces within and against which artists’ practices are established and maintained. In this paper I will consider some related recent research undertaken by Alison Bain (a Canadian cultural geographer) and David Throsby (an Australian cultural economist) alongside some findings from my CV study. By comparing these different approaches this paper will assess the potential for developing an improved understanding of the negotiated relationships between space, place and situation in research seeking to represent artistic work.

Download Draft Conference Paper (pdf)