Finding Labyrinths in the Maze: An Examination of Some Aspects of Consciousness, Cognition, Perception, and Interpretation towards a Hermeneutics of Visual Art

By Marius Paul O’Shea.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The general approach of this paper is phenomenological and hermeneutic as a means of emphasising the embodied nature of all the levels of artmaking and experiencing. Its aim is to examine certain aspects of the processes of artmaking and art experiencing both from the artist’s (ME1) point of view and from that of those who engage with the finished work (ME2). The paper presents a syncretic, consilient and speculative account of some of the complex interactions between the ‘private’ and ‘public’ psychosocial mechanisms involved in the understanding, making and interpretation of artworks. A syncretic approach is chosen in order to deal with the breadth of reference needed to encompass those areas of experience from a neurophysiological and neuropsychological point of view, as well as from the perspective of art as a sociocultural phenomenon and as viewed through the lens of hermeneutics. The central metaphor of the paper sees the act of interpretation as entering a multidimensional, shifting maze of possible meanings, which, if successfully negotiated creates a unicursal labyrinth that passes through all the abovementioned regions to arrive at the heart of the matter.

Keywords: Phenomenology, Consilience, Perception, Hermeneutics, Visual Artwork

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp.363-378. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1016.356KB).

Dr. Marius Paul O’Shea

Associate Professor Art History, General Education, American University of Ras Al Khaimah, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

Painter, draughtsman, photographer, writer. Works in public and private collections in the UK, USA, Singapore, and Australia. Born in Northern Ireland, UK. Educated in Belfast (DipAD), London (BA Hons), Sheffield (MEd), Leicester (MA)[UK], and Newcastle (PhD) [NSW, Australia]. Associate Professor of Art History, American University of Ras Al Khaimah, UAE. Has lived and worked in the UK, Singapore, Australia, and UAE. Interests: Visual Art, Photography, Cinema, Philosophy, Martial Arts.

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