Deborah Marks

Unspoken Moments: An Investigation into the Creative Process


This paper investigates the creative process, drawing on the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty regarding the unity of mind and body. This is an enquiry into the unspoken moment when conscious and unconscious mental processes such as perception, cognition, emotion and intuition, are synthesized during the creative process – their interlinking with bodily processes enabling sensation to emerge in artwork. Vision and movement are united in the body that moves and sees as part of one complete process. The research addresses Anton Ehrenzweig’s theory and psychology of the creative process as well as Elizabeth Grosz’s concerns regarding sensation. Giles Deleuze’s concepts regarding sensation, and the constriction and aestheticising of materials are also central to this investigation. Richard Wollheim’s theories on the role of emotion during the creative process as well as Henri Bergson’s views on intuition are also relevant to this research. My practice generated the enquiry into this research which then expanded my knowledge, which became incorporated back into the artwork. Theory and practice inform each other. I have produced a series of experimental studies, oil paintings and collages which explore the processes researched. In this paper I have identified artists whose account of their creative process coincides with my own. These include Rembrandt, Cezanne, Degas, Francis Bacon, Peter Doig and Adrian Ghenie. I conclude that the synthesis of intuition and emotion with acquired formal knowledge translated through the physical making of the artwork enables sensation and a more powerful expression of a psychological resonance in the research artwork.

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Deborah Marks:

Deborah Marks was awarded a BA in Visual Arts 1985 and in 1987 graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma in Professional Art Studies from City Art Institute. Deborah’s art practise encompasses painting, drawing and collage. Her work is figurative and explores psychological issues. She has been exhibiting over the past twenty years and is currently represented with the Charles Hewitt Gallery, Sydney. Deborah has been involved in Arts Education for the past twenty years. She currently teaches Life and Objective Drawing at the National Art School where she has worked for the past twelve years. In 2007 Deborah was awarded the Cite International des Arts Paris studio, where she undertook research for the Masters in Fine Art Degree which she has recently completed.