Loughborough University

File(s) under permanent embargo

Reason: This item is currently closed access.

Grids: painting in a dialogue with the digital

posted on 2011-02-21, 09:14 authored by Sarah Key
The thesis is a body of work (paintings) and its contextual analysis. Together they constitute a method that aims to `update' conceptions of the grid for painting, using digital media and poststructuralist philosophy/ theory. The thesis attempts to move beyond Rosalind Krauss' seminal text on the modernist grid, to re-assess its continued use in contemporary painting practices. I argue that notions of the grid in painting expand beyond the tenets of modernism, marking a shift in meaning for the grid in terms of its relationship to the visual languages of painting and digital media. The grid is re-assessed under the terms `emblem', `sign' and `metaphor', which appear in Krauss (1986). I then consider the grid as `device', exploring its use in the construction of the submitted work, the written account of which demonstrates the flexibility of the grid in the production of painted images and the transformation produced by introducing digital media to the imagemaking methodology. I discuss work by Stephen Ellis, Alexis Harding and Sarah Mörris, as examples of contemporary practice that use the grid to produce work that engages painting's relationship to the photographic, the digital - and the sheer materiality of the medium. I consider concepts located in poststructuralist work by Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari (1980) and on postmodernism, by Jean-Francois Lyotard (1979). These critical paradigms are used for their deconstructive strategies and critical accounts of technology, to which digital media is integral. Introducing digital media to the methodology of the work has developed a discussion on aesthetics in relation to perception, specifically in terms of the material qualities of the work's surfaces in relation to the haptic. The architectonic structures, methods and processes - at work through the grid in painting - are located in the corporeal experience of touch and vision, considered in relation to the aesthetic conditions of the digital. I use Deleuze and Guattari's `striated' and `smooth' to poetically account for painting's relationship to uses of the digital. I also consider notions of the `virtual' in an account of embodied perception and painting. The primary aim of the thesis is to disrupt the obvious presence of the grid within the imagery of the work, whilst using it as a means to construct and deconstruct images in a method developed using Photoshop. This method incorporates graphic elements (text) in the formation of the work's imagery, motivating an aesthetic shift in the work - from references to other `painterly languages' (of gesture and the filmic) to those of the digital. Conceptions of the grid in painting, digital media and theory are integrating within the work's methodological and conceptual framework: the dialogue that emerges between them creates a network between structure and sensation that opens the grid to the forces of corporeality and desire, at work within painting.



  • The Arts, English and Drama


  • Arts


© Sarah Key

Publication date



A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

EThOS Persistent ID



  • en

Usage metrics

    Creative Arts Theses


    Ref. manager