Personal profile

Research overview

My research focuses on art created between 1950 to 1980. I have a special interest in minimalism in the United States, which is a tendency across the arts during this period for paring back and simplifying. Minimalism can be defined as an attempt to reduce a work’s ‘artistic’ element to a state that is perceived to be less than an expected norm. My first book was a study of the minimalist sculptor, Carl Andre, and addressed the complex, sociological underpinnings of this aesthetic impulse.

Since then, I have written on many aspects of art and culture from the 1960s and the 1970s, including concrete art, land art, computer art, and guerrilla art. In recent years my research has widened to address artists from a range of different countries, including Brazil, Germany, Poland, Italy and Canada.

My current preoccupation relates to art practices that appear to remain stable for relatively long durations. I am exploring artists who (1) commence a work with an understanding that they will persist with it until their death (2) remain stylistically consistent for long stretches of time (3) regard each work as part of a long-term series (4) decide to undertake an activity for an assigned amount of time, or (5) plan to create a work a day for an assigned amount of time, no matter what. In total, I am addressing the practices of around a dozen artists from a range of different countries, and the study spans a chronological range of around sixty-five years. This subject embraces an array of themes that are challenging to conceptualize, including duration, ways of living or forms of life, and the relationship between the individual and collective. Addressing seemingly routine and consistent approaches to art making also allows me to explore aspects of artistic practice more generally, and I see this research project as a contribution to ongoing discussions about the value of a conception of practice for posthumanist theories of the social.

Currently, I am completing an extended study on the US minimalist painter, James Howell – an artist who devoted over twenty-five years of his life to depicting the grey spectrum. This will be published as a monograph in either 2020 or 2021. 

If you are interested in pursuing postgraduate research at St Andrews on any topic that intersects with my research focus, please do send me an email. 

Profile Keywords

Twentieth-century art, particularly 1950-1980, minimalism, abstraction, histories of sculpture, theories of art practice  

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS

Award Date: 20 Dec 2005

Keywords

  • NB Sculpture
  • Minimalism
  • Abstraction
  • Modernism

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