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American Art and Architecture

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Relational Viewing: Affect, Trauma And The Viewer In Contemporary Autobiographical Art, Matthew Ryan Smith Aug 2012

Relational Viewing: Affect, Trauma And The Viewer In Contemporary Autobiographical Art, Matthew Ryan Smith

Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

This dissertation examines the communicative relationship between contemporary autobiographical art and the viewer. By analyzing the work of six artists, Richard Billingham, Jaret Belliveau, Larry Clark, Nan Goldin, Lisa Steele and Bas Jan Ader, I maintain that lived experience and personal history condition the way viewers respond to autobiographical art. I turn to literary theory as a critical methodology to argue that autobiographical art operates as a catalyst for identification, memory and self-discovery. I use affect and trauma theory to demonstrate how artwork produces meaning and discourse through the viewer’s feelings, emotions and bodily sensations. Consequently, I survey the ...