Metaphors of light: considering Vastu principles of space
by Aldous, Veronica Mary
Abstract This PhD project involved my light art practice that sits within the historical lineage of Euro-American non-representational art, and extended on this through an exploration of Vastu principles of space from the Vedic architecture of India. As a stepping off point for the investigation of light in space in my work, I undertook a study of specific works of a specific selection of artists relevant to my practice, who explored reductivism in painting and sculpture. Light is important to the sense of space that our eyes and brains process. Consequently, the experience of light might be understood as a symbol of broader cultural and philosophical issues, that are interpreted through personal elements, such as, historical and cultural influences. My research draws on this understanding as inspiration in the development of visual outcomes using cross-cultural referencing to heighten the expressive potential the work offers, in an attempt to push the boundaries of contemporary art practice. The study produced an exhibition of light works and a written exegesis that elucidates and supports insights and arguments proposed. The exegesis records the contextual research into Vastu principles and how they might be applied to contemporary art paradigms; it explores a dialogue between Vedic philosophy and modernist concepts, particularly in relationship with minimalism. In this way art production, art history and cross-cultural theory have been employed in a personal reading of light and space as a metaphor for meaning. The exploration of Vastu has provided an example of philosophical and historical sources alongside the development of an exhibition of art works that focused on light as a phenomenon experienced by the body and interpreted through cultural influences of art history and Vedic Philosophy.
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