ISSN: 20526695
First published in 2015
2 issues per volume
Volume 2 Issue 1
Cover Date: April 2016
A ‘shimmering thing at the edge of analysis’: Figure/ground and the paintings of Agnes Martin
purchase PDF
Authors:  Simon Morley 
DOI: 10.1386/jcp.2.1.39_1

Keywords
Agnes Martin,Mark Rothko,figure/ground,the haptic,neuroaesthetics,vision and visuality

Abstract
My specific focus is the relationship of figure/ground segregation in painting to the pressures of impermanence, non-differentiation and non-duality. Figure/ground assignment depends on the mind’s ability to establish, process and stabilize clear contrasts or dualisms within the visual field, which then become the basis for all cognitive binaries. The flat, framed format of painting makes figure/ground assignment a central issue. Normally, when we perceive an image we also consign a background to imperception, but blurring out of fine detail, softening of sharp edges and contrast sensitivity frustrate this perceptual activity, undermining the distinction between presence and absence, and bringing to light an undifferentiated foundation. I discuss the physiology and phenomenology of vision, and research in the neurosciences, and focus on the paintings of the American artist Agnes Martin (1912–2004) and the challenge they pose to stable figure/ground assignment. Within her work I identify the shifting shape of non-normative subjectivity.
Tags:
Your tags: Please login or register if you don't have a user account.
Latest news
16th November 2017
Building Visions, Making Connections
Read more Read more
16th November 2017
CFP: UNMAKING WASTE 2018
Read more Read more
10th November 2017
Drama Therapy Review: New Call for Papers
Read more Read more

 

The Big Picture Magazine