Alex Ashton

Drawing phenomenological parallels through practice-based research


‘…nature appears not only as outside me…but it is also discernable at the centre of subjectivity. ‘ (Merleau-Ponty, 2006:403)

The paper investigates the inter-relationship of memory, imagination and the construction of meaning through, and within drawing. A methodology is developed through an examination of the phenomenology of perception, ‘Being-in-the-world’ and the ‘Lived Experience’ of the landscape (Woodruff Smith, 2007). Establishing a framework in which the ‘opening up’ of memory and imagination become a source of drawing within the ‘bracketed’ studio. The relationship between perceptual experience and the reinterpretation of an image through drawing is examined in propinquity to the ontology of ‘Dasein’ (Heidegger, 1962), as always being engaged in the world. Drawing can be understood as an exploration of temporality as past, present and future within memory and imagination. Thus, the relationship between the representation of landscape and an interpretation of ‘place’ becomes apparent, through the intersubjectivity of the horizon of ‘Being-in–the world’ (Heidegger, 1962) and where drawing activity is analysed in relation to the emergence of form within the memory of ‘place’ (Malpas,1999, 2008). The intentional acts that occur within the studio connect exteriority and interiority, intuition and experience, subject and object. Therefore, the paper will explore the phenomenological parallels witnessed in the author’s practice-based research.

References Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and Time. Blackwell publishing, Oxford, UK. Malpas J.E., (1999). Place and Experience a Philosophical Topography. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Malpas J., (2008). Heidegger’s Topology – Being, Place, World. MIT Press, Massachusetts, USA. Merleau-Ponty , M (2006). The Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge, Oxon, UK.

Download Drawing phenomenological parallels through practice-based research (451.91 KB)

Alex Ashton:

My present post of Senior lecturer for Art and Design on the PCGE course (Initial Teacher Training) follows 15 years teaching within the secondary school system, as artist in residence, teacher and Head of Art and Design. These roles are supported through my Involvement with the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) through the CfBT and OFQUAL. I sit on the curriculum board of the National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD), which, as a subject association is involved with the development of Art and Design education across all phases. The society responds directly to the Department of Education, shaping and promoting policy, in the interests of educators throughout the UK. My personal artistic practice has sustained and nourished my approach to pedagogy and philosophy. I am currently studying for my PhD research Degree through the University of Huddersfield, my doctoral research programme explores the teaching and development of drawing, investigating philosophical methodologies and strategies in response to conceptions of the landscape, space and place.