Hypostasis and the dynamic imagination

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Martha Lynne Neaves (Creator)
Institution
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/
Advisor
Ron Laboray

Abstract: How we know what we know is complex and multifaceted. In both the humanities and sciences there are instances where the objective and subjective overlap and sometimes merge. This is the terrain of my research. My thesis employs Gaston Bachelard’s phenomenology and philosophies of the imagination to investigate the material, poetic and dynamic imaginations as they relate to the sciences, the visual arts and specifically to my work and practice as a visual artist. I argue that the seemingly paradoxical blending of the objective and the subjective, the two ways of knowing, creates a dynamic space that allows for innovative contemplation, reflection, and deeper understanding. The strictly rational generation of scientific knowledge is often initiated out of human curiosity and the capacity to imagine, wonder and formulate interesting questions. By attending to the material reality of the world, poeticized and dynamic images can reveal themselves, providing opportunity for insight and an alignment with the spiritual function of the human imagination and will. In this body of work, I argue that art, like poems, function as phenomenological agents having the potential to activate the human imagination, the creative impulse and a revelatory connection with both life and the material world. The human imagination uses tools such as poetry and the arts to point to that which is beyond the realm of definable knowledge or to give voice to ideas that are beyond the current capacity of human understanding. The ideas and images in my body of work are informed by the reflection on and investigation of the nature of consciousness and contemplation of experiences present in acts of consciousness including everyday experiences as well as reveries, imagination, oneiric experiences and the recognition of patterns. An investigation of the impact of Bachelard’s phenomenology and philosophies of the imagination on diverse fields of inquiry will provide a better understanding and deeper appreciation for his influence on the visual arts and in particular my own practice as an artist. Bachelard’s essays on painters and sculptors from his vast writings including his book The Right to Dream, describe the phenomenological aspect of the creative processes of specific artist. Reason and imagination both determine how we perceive reality and while the sciences and arts are vastly distinct from one another in method and construct they are both distinctly human endeavors. The human experience is itself both objective and subjective in nature. Bachelard’s deep respect for the pre-perceptive nature of the image, and the dynamic function of the human imagination apply to both rational and subjective endeavors. Bachelard’s philosophy of the imagination is a phenomenologically based methodology that intersects and expands the potential of both ways of knowing.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
Language: English
Date: 2018
Keywords
Bachelard, Ceramics, Hypostasis, Oneiric, Painting, Phenomenology

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