Writing//painting; l’écriture féminine and difference in the making

Taylor, Jacqueline (2013) Writing//painting; l’écriture féminine and difference in the making. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.


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This thesis critically interrogates the concept and practice of l’écriture féminine as proposed by Hélène Cixous, Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva to challenge phallocentric structures embedded in language and culture. It examines why abstraction has been so problematic for women and feminist artists and why, despite l’écriture féminine being utilised in art practice it came to a standstill in the mid-1990s, ceasing to provide possibilities for women’s abstract painting. By using l’écriture féminine as a ‘lens’ with which to see abstract painting, I have distilled particular aspects of it and put forward my own concept and practice of peinture féminine to move on from these problematics.

I demonstrate that whilst the historicity of Modernist abstraction is embedded in abstract painting, it is not bound by rigid and fixed structures and conventions and these are not phallocentric per se. Peinture féminine as defined here reconceptualises abstract painting as a spatiality comprising multiple, shifting and heterogeneous spaces. In doing so, it expands abstract painting internally and opens up these conventions non-oppositionally. By elaborating on the ‘feminine’ in relation to current thinking about subjectivity, I argue that the unfolding of abstract painting through its ‘opening out’, enables an enfolding of difference within this spatiality. Peinture féminine offers new ways of understanding how difference can manifest through material production, rather than a focus on representing difference through a ‘feminine’ aesthetic. I draw on my own art practice and the work of other artists, locating this study as ‘art-practice-research’ through a ‘writing//painting’ approach which underpins my research; considering the textual as not being transposed into the painterly but as intertwined within this relation. This approach is productive to non-oppositional thinking and elaborates on the theory/practice relation as entangled, providing possibilities for ways of thinking about Fine Art doctoral research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
July 2013Completed
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-02 - art
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts > Birmingham School of Art
Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Richard Birley
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2017 09:32
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:50
URI: https://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/4875

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