The Picture in Question: Mark Tansey and the Ends of Representation

The Picture in Question: Mark Tansey and the Ends of Representation

Mark C. Taylor

Language: English

Pages: 151

ISBN: 0226791297

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A rich exploration of the possibilities of representation after Modernism, Mark Taylor's new study charts the logic and continuity of Mark Tansey's painting by considering the philosophical ideas behind Tansey's art. Taylor examines how Tansey uses structuralist and poststructuralist thought as well as catastrophe, chaos, and complexity theory to create paintings that please the eye while provoking the mind. Taylor's clear accounts of thinkers ranging from Plato, Kant, and Hegel to Merleau-Ponty, Derrida, and de Man will be an invaluable contribution to students and teachers of art.

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from which his work derives, they tended to misread his writings as implying the negation of the very possibility of meaning. While not schooled in the history of philosophy, Tansey, who is a careful and insightful reader, quickly realized that the debates between and among philosophers and literary critics actually repeated arguments artists had been developing for more than two decades. In contrast to postmodern critics for whom the play of signs renders meaning indeterminate, and conservative

this context, the most interesting drawing in the Frameworks suite is The Raw and the Framed, which pictures Levi-Strauss, standing in what appears to be a palatial Parisian museum or art gallery, inspecting a painting with a decorative gilded frame. Though the room seems secure, its walls are fragile. The museum or gallery appears to be subterranean; just beyond its outermost edge, miners equipped with hard hats and heavy equipment are carving a tunnel through rock. As if to combine sculpture

trace of the absence of a presence," which sounds to me like drawing. This trace, when repeated, amounts to the construction of a texture. And in this sense texture functions as the somewhat forbidden bridge between text and picture. Through abrasion text can become a geological surface, with smudging it can appear like atmospheric depth, with erasure it can look like water, with crumpling it can be a rock or object rendering, etc. (VR 132) Though not intended as such, this remark actually

my glance, I realized that Tansey and I were approaching similar problems from different directions. While I had been moving from a study of modern and postmodern philosophy to an examination of painting, Tansey had been extending his critique of modernist painting through an investigation of postmodern philosophy and criticism. Furthermore, the writers he found most helpful were, for the most part, the very same writers who had been guiding my work. Having seen this much, I knew I had to see

scales of length of natural patterns is for all practical purposes infinite.8 6. Leonardo da Vinci, quoted in ibid., p. 97. 7. Ibid., p. 144. Mandelbrot sets for himself the ambitious task of developing "the morphology of the 'amorphous.'" Whereas Euclidean geometry and traditional physics regard irregular shapes as aberrations, Mandelbrot is convinced that they display previously unrecognized orders, which are no less regular and even more reasonable than the dry abstractions of mathematical

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