Picturing Mind

Paradox, Indeterminacy and Consciousness in Art & Poetry


In this book the author takes an unusual multi-disciplinary approach to debates about contemporary art and poetry, ideas about the mind and its representations, and theories of knowledge and being. Arts practices are considered as enactments of mind and as transformative modes of consciousness. Ideas drawn from poetics, philosophy and consciousness studies are used to illuminate the conceptual and aesthetic frameworks of a diverse array of visual artists. Themes explored include: the interconnectedness of existence; art as a way of interrogating appearances; identity and otherness; art and the self as ‘open work’; Buddhist concepts of ‘emptiness’ and ‘suchness’; scepticism, mysticism and the arts; and mind in the landscape. The book contains an important and distinctive visual dimension with photographs and drawings by the author and texts employing unorthodox syntax and layouts that exemplify the themes under discussion. The author hints at a new aesthetics and philosophy of indeterminacy, paradox, uncertainty and discontinuity - a contrarium - in which we negotiate our way through the instabilities and contradictions of contemporary life. Written in a lively and accessible style this volume is of interest to scholars, arts practitioners, teachers and to anyone with an interest in art, poetry, consciousness studies, philosophy and nature.
Artists, poets and philosophers discussed, include: Cy Twombly, Helen Chadwick, John Ruskin, Ad Reinhardt, Richard Long, James Turrell, Anish Kapoor, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Agnes Martin, Land Art, Arte Povera, Minimalism, Charles Olson, Kenneth White, Robin Blaser, Fred Wah, Gary Snyder, RS Thomas, Alice Oswald, John Cage, Jorge Luis Borges, Guy Davenport, Kenneth Rexroth, Heidegger, Marjorie Perloff, Thomas McEvilley, Merleau-Ponty, Spinoza, Wittgenstein, Roland Barthes, Umberto Eco, David Abram, Thomas Merton, Pyrrho & Nagarjuna.


EUR €100.00USD $127.00

Biographical Note

John Danvers is an artist, writer and academic currently based at the University of Plymouth, UK. His work includes drawings, paintings, installations and performance works, and, most recently, digital projections with live spoken texts. He has exhibited and lectured widely in the UK, Europe, North America and Australia, with work in many private and public collections. His published writings include academic papers on the philosophy of art practice and pedagogy, as well as hybrid texts combining poetic discourse and visual elements.

Review Quotes

”This book is a self-unfolding by Danvers, and if you come to it open you will get much to fold back into your self.” Bill Bamberger, Amazon.com, in: Elliptical orbits, June 30, 2007

Table of contents

Preface Part 1: Introduction – an opening, an entering Part 2: The knowing body: art as an integrative process of cognition Part 3: Interrogating appearances: being, seeing & showing Part 4: The mutuality of existence: drawing, emptiness & presence Part 5: Picturing mind – writing being Part 6: The self as open-work: permeability, incompleteness & revisibility Part 7: Mind, the real & the other Part 8: Where we are: locus of mind-in-the-world Part 9: The ! the One & the Many: mysticism, art & poetry Part 10: The discontinuum of consciousness: ambiguity, indeterminacy & multiplicity Part 11 A leaving, an unending. A folding, an unfolding Bibliography Index