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…show more content… This is so, he says, because ‘they embody – in aesthetic form some of the deepest truths concerning the nature of the human condition, and our place in the universe’ (page). Crowther states that ‘analytic aesthetics needs phenomenology in order to expand its ontological scope and solve the problem of expression’ (page). Phenomenology, the philosopher continues, ‘needs the discursive force and lucidity of analytic philosophy so as to develop a sustained, critically balanced, and intellectually available ontology.’ (page) This reciprocal need, according to Crowhter, warrants a postanalytic phenomenology of art.