Everyday objects and the evocation of the miraculous

Wilson-Copp, Frances (2008) Everyday objects and the evocation of the miraculous. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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This research uses mass produced domestic objects and removes them from ordinary modes of perception in order to evoke a sense of the miraculous, which in this research is defined as the shattering of the automatic nature of everyday perception in order to apprehend a changed reality beyond that which we are accustomed to. This may be accomplished by defamiliarizing perception, a method advocated by Viktor Shklovsky in 1917. How artists have contended with the difficulty of expressing the idea of a presence or essence which cannot be perceived by the senses, and how works can be produced which are capable of communicating these ideas in contemporary terms, is examined. The research commenced with practical studio investigations and with a review of literature and art. The first major artist to influence the practical research was The Vienna Master of Mary of Burgundy, whose manuscript illuminations include an outer border where objects in common usage become almost palpable. This apparent palpability is in startling contrast to the depictions of the miraculous in the background beyond the border, and the research seeks to examine this contrast. The nature of visual perception is investigated through science and philosophy, and ideas from these fields informed the practical studies. These theories all have in common a recognition of the importance of visual ambiguity and its significance in enabling the defamiliarization of the ordinary and its displacement into another realm. The practical research develops a suitable contemporary iconography. The main motif of the works is the effect of light, and of elements such as water and oil, on glass, which alters perception of the object. Initially an ordinary wineglass was used, but later, glass fragments were deployed instead. By fragmenting the object it is transformed, and interpretation changes, enhancing its disassociation from the familiar. Crucial to this were video and digital photography in enhancing light and movement to transform an everyday object, through intensification and displacement, into a different reality. This body of work denies the mundane by altering perception of spatial relationships and scale, and by introducing atmospheric qualities. and a different world is evoked where objects become ambiguous in setting meaning, and through this the miraculous is sensed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Stonyer, Andrewastonyer@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Rosenbloom, Paulprosenbloom@glos.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Uncontrolled Keywords: Domestic objects; perception; defamiliarizing perception; art
Related URLs:
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
T Technology > TR Photography
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creatives
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 26 May 2022 11:11
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:24
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/11145

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