Painting trajectories
: transliterating traces of the travel experience through photo-based painting

  • Sarah Jane Moller

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    Collected photographic traces of travelling pay homage to the glorious idea that humans sporadically leave ordinary life, travel to new locations and take a flurry of pictures to help them remember. At the end of the holiday, they return to the ordinary, clutching only images and trinkets as physical evidence of their trajectory through alternative time zones and locations. The body of large scale, photo-based oil paintings documented in this project draw upon these photographic traces of the travel experience, which verify what the tourist saw in journeying through unfamiliar spaces. Based on images gathered over the course of a year’s studio research in Germany, these works position the artist as collector of gazes en route between ordinary life and the extraordinary holiday setting.

    Exploring the Foucauldian notion of the image caught in trajectory from photograph to painting, the body of artwork focuses on how a change of form is negotiated between the photographic source image and the painted studio outcome. Referencing a number of themes, theoretical contexts and practice-based approaches, the exegesis brings together images, literature and studio narrative to reveal the emergence of an understanding of painting as a process of painterly transliteration. Adapted from the linguistic term which describes the mapping from one system of writing into another, the notion of transliteration is applied to articulate how the artist maps from photograph to painting, seeking an approach which emphasises materiality of medium over representational reproduction. Paintings shaped through this process examine the tourist spectacle while highlighting their origins in transience, conveying the movement and fleeting nature of the travel experience as it transpires within the contemporary setting.
    Date of AwardJun 2015
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorBirut Zemits (Supervisor), Carole Wilson (Supervisor) & Amy Jackett (Supervisor)

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