David THOMAS

Simple Complexities: Contemporary Art Practice as a Mediator for Bridging and Celebrating Cultural Difference Through Practice-Based Research

Abstract:

Using the work of three artists – graduates from the RMIT School of Art, MFA and DFA programs – as case studies, the paper describes how ideas relevant to local cultures can inform and be informed by the international (global) means of contemporary art practice, and thereby mediate and celebrate difference.

The paper will reflect on how three artists: XIAO YU BAI, a figurative painter from China; HUNG, MING-CHUEH, an abstract painter from Taiwan: and JONG GU YOON, a video installation artist from South Korea, have addressed the issues of Taoism in their practice. Taoism is a general term for a set of philosophical principles that have long histories and local variations throughout northern Asian cultures. Whilst briefly investigating the specifics of Taoism in their practice, this paper focuses primarily upon the artists’ use of the strategies and methods of a contemporary art practice informed by both eastern and western artists. It traces waves of interaction since 1950 between visual artists in the east and west. In doing so, the paper opens for reflection issues of the interconnected nature of cultures, and argues for an understanding of complexity rather than the oversimplifications of ideas and peoples so prevalent in our societies today.

Download Simple Complexities: Contemporary Art Practice as a Mediator for Bridging and Celebrating Cultural Difference Through Practice-Based Research (2.80 MB)

David THOMAS:

Dr David Thomas is Program Coordinator of the MFA Coursework degree in Australia and New Zealand at the School of Art, RMIT University, Melbourne. He is a practicing artist who explores duration, time and timing through his composite works in Painting, installation and Photopainting. He exhibits extensively in Australia and internationally, with forthcoming exhibitions in South Korea, Germany and Australia. He has work held in major collections including the National Gallery of Victoria and the Wolff collection in the Kunstmusem Bonn. Recent writings on his work can be found in Eikon: Journal for Photography and New Media, Vienna.