Transferring the improvisational potential of drawing to a contemporary sculptural practice




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De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


This text and the body of artwork it describes are the outcomes of a practice-based research project exploring the question: "What are the implications and opportunities of transferring the improvisational potential of drawing to a contemporary sculptural practice, using Diana Cooper and Hew Locke's practices (2000-2004) as precedents?"- This is the final form of the question, which evolved over time in response to the findings of this research. The original question was: "Is it possible to create a sculptural practice that is, or could be conceived as, drawing in three-dimensions?" which was inspired by the desire to improve my sculptural practice, with transferred qualities of drawing. The thesis also discusses the approach to the research, and the methods utilized. It includes a discussion that focuses on practice-based methodologies, with the specific approach of art as research, or research for art and design. (Frayling, C 1998). This approach involves the performative perspective, (Borgdorff, H. 2006), whilst utilizing Schön's reflection in and on action. (Schön, D 1983). Using this type of process produced a journey of knowledge production, which was based on an experimental cycle of practice-based learning. The experimental cycle produced the conditions for a direct engagement with the creative process, whilst utilizing tacit knowledge, to improve my practice. This improvement was informed, through the questions this process raised, whilst utilizing the evaluative technique of interpretation and performative analysis. These techniques allowed for the development of my practice within the studio environment, which was important due to the need for it to work within this environment. This thesis also details the journey undertaken during the research, and its conclusions. The investigation explores the work of contemporary artists who explore the boundaries between sculpture and drawing. The research identified the artists Diana Cooper and Hew Locke, whose practices are at the forefront of the expansion of contemporary drawing into the three-dimensional realm. Through a critical review of Hew Locke and Diana Cooper's practices i was able to identify a number of creative strategies, which could improve my practice. These strategies were addition and mutation, which produces the potential for improvisation, whilst removing the restraints associated with pre-determined forms. Removing these restraints gave my practice the opportunity to evolve through an improvisational approach, which utilizes a flexible, adaptive moulding technique. This practice, and the sculptures it produces, are the embodiment of the findings of the research. These sculptures were presented, at the end of the research, in an exhibition at De Montfort University.



Improvisational potential of drawing, Sculpture, Moulding, flexible, Adaptive moulding technique, Practice based research, Cellulose tape moulds, Additve moulding, Adaptive moulds, new moulding technique for clear casting resin, new moulding technique for concrete, new moulding technique for thermoplastic



Research Institute