Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Screen and Frame in Painting in the Digital Era
Dr Melina Berkenwald
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
University of Westminster, London.
Thesis Supervisor
Prof Paddy Scannell
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Prof Jane Prophet
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
School of Media, Art and Design / Art
Languages Familiar to Author
Spanish, English, Portuguese
URL where full thesis can be found
painting, technology, screen, frame, art production, art display
Abstract: 200-500 words
My research provides an historically situated analysis of painting as a practice and process of art production. It is concerned with painting today as part of an historical continuum in which tradition is constantly renegotiated. Today’s artists have at their disposal not only the traditional materials of painting but also new digital technologies which are increasingly applied to art production. The central part of my thesis is a study of how contemporary artists negotiate between old and new resources in relation to their work. The emphasis is on their understanding of their practice, from initial conception through to completion and exhibition. I have chosen to focus on the screen and the frame as the irreducible components required to produce and to exhibit a painting: the screen being the surface upon which the work appears, and the frame being the material and conceptual link between artwork and audience. Screen and frame are both materials and concepts that play a significant role in art production and display. They proved to be two key concerns for the artists I interviewed and the ways in which they conceived of their audiences and the reception of their work. The first part of my thesis offers an historical overview of changing conceptions of screen and frame in the context of the historically changing social contexts in which European art and artists operated. I account for the development of the portable canvas, the impact of photography and later of film and video as offering artists new resources and new ways of conceiving of art as practice. It aims to provide a preliminary context for the central part of my thesis, which is based on lengthy, open-ended interviews with a number of carefully selected artists working today with traditional and digital media. The interviews were backed up, whenever possible, by observation of the artists at work. They were invited to reflect on all aspects of their working process, the materials and methods they employed. I conclude with a review of the key concerns of the thesis in the light of what emerges from my discussion of the practices of contemporary artists; the re-negotiation of the tradition of painting, changing concepts of screen and frame, art as a practice and the importance of circumtextual material considerations such as the exhibition and reception of the work. In short, my thesis aims to provide a careful analysis of contemporary painting as an historically situated practice, a production process as much as a final product or work of art.