Art And Vision : Paul Crowther Essay

Art And Vision : Paul Crowther Essay

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Paul Crowther, Phenomenologies of Art and Vision: A Post-Analytic Turn, Bloomsbury, 2013, pp. 195,b/w plates 14, cloth
Whilst Crowther’s readers and the philosopher himself consider Phenomenologies of Art and Vision: A Post-Analytic Turn to be primarily a contribution to the field of aesthetics, which develops further his philosophical writing about visual art, we conclude that the book does a lot more than that.
Crowther’s main point is that, if visual art is to be understood in ways going beyond the spectatorial viewpoint alone, art must be examined within both the analytic and phenomenological traditions of philosophy (page). He offers critical discussions of Wollheim, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Lacan and Dufrenne to demonstrate this. (Curiously, he omits from his analysis Ingarden’s work, Bachelard’s poetics of space and Nietzsche, whose philosophy could have helped him to develop a connection between picturing and eternal recurrence more effectively.)
Through these critical discussions Crowther develops his own position which, encapsulated in one statement, would amount to the assertion that when an artist creates a work of art, the medium of making a picture (or a sculpture) and its ontology change the way in which the world appears. Rather than considering Crowther’s position and his further analysis as a continuing clarification of the specificity of artistic processes (as it seems to be conventionally undersood), we suggest that Crowther’s analysis warrants a significant shift of focus from aesthetics that deals with the structure and processes inherent to art, to the fundamental study of being where the analysis of art, artistic creation and contemplation can provide a theoretical platform for the development of a f...

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...osure is effected through embodiment,‘flesh’, and vision.
Chapter 6 deals with Lacan’s treatment of picturing and its relation with vision and subjectivity; with the intersubjectivity of a picture and the visual arresting of the artist’s gesture in a painting.
In Chapter 7, Dufrenne’s theory linking pictorial art and temporality is analysed— another linkage of art to major ontological thematic.
Crowther’ Conclusion is a summary of his main arguments and largely a list of the critical points he collected along the way whilst addressing the aforementioned theories. Whilst Crowther calls for a postanalytic phenomenological aesthetics as a result of his investigations, we do not want the readers to overlook another outcome of his work – the demonstration of the need to include analytical aesthetics into the phenomenology of Being.

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