The development of surface motifs that allude to aspects of the female body

Murphy, Hayley-Anne (2005) The development of surface motifs that allude to aspects of the female body. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

Full text not available from this repository.


This research examines the development of surface motifs in drapery, and how they can be further developed through practice to allude to aspects of the female body. The motif of central importance is the fold, developed in the natural fall of cloth when draped on the female body. To locate this research within contemporary practice consideration is given to the work of relevant current artists, who either fragment or develop surface motifs, which act as a synecdoche to reference the body. The research commenced with an extensive examination of the historical development of the draped fold in painting and sculpture, this underpinned the beginning of the practice research and its contextualization. The practice based research consisted of a sense of studies, commencing with an investigation into how motifs could be developed in cloth using various techniques of stitching and manipulation that were identified through the historical study. This was followed by an exploration into the relationship between drapery and the underlying female figure, examining the body's effect on the fold and identifying points of support. These studies were carried out using a life model and photographically recorded and documented. Subsequent studies involved a small-scale stuffed model, which enabled an investigation of the various methods of glue starching required to fix the cloth to produce a draped cast of the figure. Although these studies produced promising results, it was realised that the photographic images which recorded the cloth in its transitional stage, whilst it was still wet, produced the most significant motifs, in terms of their skin like quality, a duality to suggest the female body. As a result the use of the camera was adopted as a method of fragmenting the image and interpreting the 3D sculptural models into a 2D surface motif. From this, a visual taxonomy was created which categorized the motifs under the following key themes, Openings, Visceral and Body Parts. Each category was considered in terms of its ability to allude to the female body through visual or sensual qualities, and from this motifs that allude to the female body were created. The penultimate stage of the studio practice is an analysis and explanation of the final images chosen for exhibition. It is these images that are most successful in alluding to the female body. They are presented as a series of vignettes rather than a stand-alone image, so the central motif is further enforced.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Surface motifs; female body; drapery
Related URLs:
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NB Sculpture
N Fine Arts > ND Painting
N Fine Arts > NK Decorative arts Applied arts Decoration and ornament
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creatives
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2022 10:22
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:57

University Staff: Request a correction | Repository Editors: Update this record

University Of Gloucestershire

Bookmark and Share

Find Us On Social Media:

Social Media Icons Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Pinterest Linkedin

Other University Web Sites

University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.