Leering in the Gap: The contribution of the viewer’s gaze in creative arts praxis as an extension of material thinking and making

Kimberley Pace
2015 Conference

The processes of thinking through material qualities and the visual tangible manifestations of studio practices facilitate the contribution to knowledge and thinking which is specific to arts practice. The creative arts researcher generates new discourses by playing on the symbolic meaning associated with the materiality of objects (Barrett 2013). As creative arts work is frequently exhibited, discourses generated from the subversion of the existing symbolic dialogue of material qualities could not exist without considering the role of the viewer (audience). In this paper the role of the viewer (and viewed) is considered through my creative arts praxis investigations of the in-between condition of the corporeal body. This inquiry was generated through a multidisciplinary studio approach, which enabled a dialogue of the in-between conditions of the body through garment, object, body, performance and sound. Reflexive examination of the in-between conditions occurred during, and through, the experimental material studio work, repeated adjustment of the material practice and exhibition. Through this process I asked how the gaze of the viewer contributes to formed notions of the body. Gaze fragments, privileges, reduces and shapes the body by interpreting the act of looking through desires and fantasy (Lacan 1979, Schneider 1997). Considering the potential for gaze to shape the anticipated emotional and psychological responses of the viewer can direct the material manifestation and installation of arts practice. In my exhibition Peel, Fondle, Ogle I attempted to create intimate spaces for the viewer to navigate, and direct their gaze through proximity to garment, body, object, film, sound and performance.

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About the author

I am currently a Masters of Arts by research student in the School of Communications and Arts and have been a Sessional Academic in Contemporary Fashion at Edith Cowan University, WA since 2012. Since graduating from Edith Cowan University in 2011 completing a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts with a double major in Visual Arts and Contemporary Fashion I have lectured in higher education, received several awards and scholarships and participated and curated numerous exhibitions. The most recent exhibition being Peel, Fondle, Ogle (2015) at Spectrum Project Space, ECU, WA, focused on negotiating the body as an in-between condition through a multidisciplinary arts praxis.