A different light - Painting as parabolic

Orr, Donald M. (2004) A different light - Painting as parabolic. MTh(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Art and Theology have two very different languages and structures, and communication between the two can be highly problematic. Christian Theology seeks to establish a core of thought whereas Fine Art exists on the frontiers of experience. The one area where they may overlap is in their handling of space. Both offer invitations into space and, on acceptance, the viewer is questioned and examined, and made to re-define the nature of space. Theology is greatly concerned with sacred space, meditative space, a space wherein we can approach the divine. Painting has always been concerned with the depiction and representation of space but, paralleling illusionistic space, painting provides an area of interaction; a space between the viewer and the viewed that can function as a sacred space, where a movement from the finite to the infinite can be facilitated. This inquiry seeks to establish how painted space can function in a parabolic manner. Gospel parable structures of narratives, located in familiar events and activities to illustrate complex ethical and religious situations, are highly provocative; forcing the viewer into an alternative state of awareness. Parable performance is unconfined and can approach areas of taboo, changing viewing to voyeurism to pornography. It questions who we are and what we want, forcing us to take decisions - and by those decisions we are judged. It is a disturbing, disorienting space of strangely familiar features, of unknown but recognisable visions. Not all paintings produce this effect and not all of the artists generating this parabolic reality are dealt with, but those selected as illustrations of this spectrum all conform to the structures of Gospel parables. They all effect a narrative in easily recognised language and experience. They operate at multiple levels of reality generated by the parabolic nature of the narrative structure. Ordinary space is made sacred by the parabolic, in the movement from depicted parable to parabolic painting one of the prime definitions is seen in a capacity to question our attitudes, to force us into considering alternatives and, by that, provoke us into decision making. In taking that step we make judgments about our lives, our relationship to existence and our place in the cosmos, and, having made those judgments, we in turn are judged by them.

Item Type: Thesis (MTh(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Art history.
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Jasper, Prof. David
Date of Award: 2004
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2004-71239
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 10:49
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2021 15:45
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71239

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