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Distant painterly perspectives : war, atrocities and the suffering of others : an exegesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
Inspired by my desire to act in some way against the injustices
of atrocities, this research sets out to establish how a socially
motivated painting practice can operate to activate its audience
to acknowledge the suffering of others due to atrocious events. It
investigates the role that the mediated imagery of photojournalism
and other sources, play in our encounter, as distant spectators, with
the suffering of others.
With concentration on painting, this research aims to analyse the
socially motivated art practices and artworks, of artists responding
to thematically similar issues in their work. I will attempt to locate
my art practice in response to the culture of the spectacle in which
I maintain, we currently reside. I explore the counter arguments
as to whether spectatorship is a passive or active role, in order to
establish what that brings to the experience of viewing a painting. I
will also look into where ethics and aesthetics intersect, and how this
crossroad impacts upon both the artist’s realisation of their work,
and the viewer’s reception of the artwork.