Prof Doc Thesis

Pairpoint, David 2012. ART ALLEGORY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Arts and Digital Industries
AuthorsPairpoint, David
TypeProf Doc Thesis

My research for the Doctorate programme began in 2007 by exploring how to
translate and reinvent cinematic imagery and searching for ways of combining
cinema, painting, and autobiography.
Initially I looked at theories of allegory in order to establish how to integrate
those ideas and elements in my own work. I then experimented with a variety
of ways of using cinema imagery coupled with my own photographs to make
large scale autobiographical paintings. From time to time social commentary
would occur in the work as I responded with anger or despair at current
My research into art and allegory led me to the writings of Walter Benjamin,
Craig Owens and Bainard Cowan. After considering a range of artists I
selected the painter Daniel Richter and the filmmaker Peter Greenaway, to
research in depth.
I experimented by manipulating imagery on a computer prior to making a
painting. My supervisors saw one of the paintings that resulted from this
process as a significant breakthrough piece. (Oh Carole 2009 Fig.15 Page 24))
What I did not acknowledge or recognise was that the genesis of this
particular work was a deep-seated emotional response to a past event. My
continued research into film literature and interpretations of allegory was
leading me in many directions, each seemingly more interesting than the last,
and each providing me with a mass of imagery which I felt compelled to act
Part of this compulsion was the need I felt to continually justify the work as an
obligation to the status or hierarchy of the Doctorate programme. This sense of
obligation became the driver for the compulsive production of my work.
My supervisors identified a second significant painting. This was a portrait of
my late father (Dad 2010 Fig.18 Page28) which, once again was my response
to the release of deeply felt emotion that had surfaced. These feelings were
buried, as I continued making a high volume of work, with often as many as
three separate genres of paintings being made at the same time. I was not
allowing time to reflect or analyse the significant meaning in those works.
I reached a further turning point, a breakthrough painting, which was a selfportrait
(Child Me 2010 Fig.19 Page29) in which I was accessing a genuine
emotional response to past events in my life rather than using second hand
emotions suggested by cinema or literature. I went on to make other paintings
in which I tried to respond honestly, emotionally and imaginatively to events in
my past. There was a sense of release in making this new body of work. I
began to reflect that the earlier work was impersonal and was made to satisfy
a self-imposed obligation and work ethic.
With the latest work I cannot wholly explain how I arrive at the images or
necessarily what they are about but I recognise that they are informed by my
imagination, which the previous way of working and thinking did not allow for.
In the later work there is a far greater sense of self expression, and the self
imposed constraints and self conscious attitudes are disappearing. Accessing
these new imaginative and emotional responses has not been an easy
process for me. I think that the perseverance and excessive volume of work
made throughout the programme may well have been a necessary process to
enable me to arrive at a point where my imagination and intuition are a trusted
part of my methodology.

Keywordscinema; painting; allegory; autobiography
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintSep 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Apr 2013
Publisher's version
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