What do you think you are looking at? A dialogue between two contemporary abstract artists




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Peer reviewed



‘What do you think you are looking at?’ focused on extending the interpretation, and re-examining the issues, of meaning in contemporary abstract painting and is significant in enhancing practice in the field. The research explored the question in the title through a dialogue between the works and between the researchers in the catalogue. In particular the significance of the exhibition lies in convening questions about the way in which the work is ‘seen’ and what can be thought and said about what is seen; about the nature of perceptual experience. The invitation extended to Kirkwood and Lancaster by the curator at Space4 to exhibit followed a successful show of smaller works in Australia. The aim of the curator was to put on an exhibition of larger works by Kirkwood and Lancaster that engaged with issues of contemporary abstract painting, e.g. authenticity and ambiguity. The concept and content of the exhibition and catalogue were developed by Kirkwood and Lancaster. Kirkwood’s contribution was to share equally in the development of the concept of a dialogue between the works, accompanied by a reflective dialogue published in the catalogue and developed in an accompanying DVD. The exhibition was composed of 28 works by Kirkwood and 12 by Lancaster. The work is original in extending the forms of expression given to explorations of the nature of perceptual experience in examining the perception of colour as transient and shifting. The rigour in the research is demonstrated by the systematic methods of examination of colour revealed in the exhibition, documented by examples in the catalogue and the DVD. The DVD and accompanying catalogue further document the rigour applied to the development of the concept of the research project demonstrating how the ‘ dialogue ‘ between the works and reflective commentaries is created. Visitor figures were 11,800.


RAE 2008, UoA 63 Art and Design


Kirkwood, I. 12/05/2007-24/06/2007. ‘What do you think you are looking at?’ Peterborough: Peterborough Museum and Art Gallery


Research Institute