This Art Life: A Study of Six Contemporary Australian Artists

WILLIAMS, J. (Examiner)

Activity: Examination


Contemporary visual art is defined by its contemporaneity and, as such, it is continually evolving. It possesses an ontological role in its concern with what it is to be in the present time, or what art can be in the present time, or both. This reflexive contemporaneity often puts it in the vanguard of social change. For people outside the art world, however, contemporary visual art may pose a challenge.
This two-part project is concerned with two types of creative practice – artistic and literary. On the one hand it explores what it is that contemporary visual artists do, and on the other, aims to make their work more accessible. The creative component, a book entitled ‘This Art Life: A Study of Six Contemporary Visual Artists’, comprises art writing for readers outside the art world. It discusses the art and practice of six contemporary visual artists working in Australia. In the exegesis, the first research area concerns the conception of artistic practice underpinning the book. The contention here is that art emerges at the interface between artist practice and life, and that through the operation of dispersed agency, a multiplicity of factors influences the emergence of artworks across the social and material environment of the artist’s world.
The second research area of the project concerns literary and genre issues to do with the writing of ‘This Art Life.’ The book frames the art and practice of the chosen artists by means of a set of universal values: lightness, quickness, exactitude, visibility and multiplicity. This conceptual framework is borrowed from a work of literary criticism, Six Memos for the New Millenium by Italo Calvino. This literary framework lifts ‘This Art Life’ into the genre of creative criticism, generating a hybrid text that accommodates art criticism, cultural theory, storytelling and reflection.
Period16 Aug 2018
ExamineeKatharine Sands
Examination held atUniversity of Technology Sydney
Degree of RecognitionNational