Author Identifier

Gale Joanna Mason

Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - ECU Access Only


Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Arts and Humanities

First Supervisor

Associate Professor Lyndall Adams

Second Supervisor

Dr Nicola Kaye


This practice-led doctoral research has emerged out of dedicated figurative painting practice and interweaves Gilles Deleuze’s Sensation and Slavoj Žižek’s Event concepts. The Event is understood as a philosophical system and not a particular occurrence. As with Sensation, it is framed as an unseen destabilising force or rupture that can only be experienced through its effects. Utilising the heuristic value of oil paint’s materiality and examining approaches of capturing the idea of Evental rupture, emphasis was given to colour theory, art history, facture and the construction of figurative paintings, with particular attention to the quality of materials.

Key figurative painters Susanne Kühn and Neo Rauch, who originated from the East German city of Leipzig and gained prominence after the fall of the Berlin Wall, provide the lens through which these notions are interrogated and applied in this doctoral research. Although differing in styles, they share ideas, commitment to process surface quality, technical skill and a classical painting education at the venerated Hochschule for Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig (Academy for Graphic Design and Buch Art). The Leipzig painters draw heavily on the history of painting and past culture, which is evident in their large-scale, discordant theatrical compositions. By tracing the influences of the Leipzig painters through select case studies, I aim to show that this ancient medium has continued relevance in the 21st century and how painting from the past continues to be a crucial factor in informing the present.

The creative component of the research examines how devices and strategies in figurative painting can successfully visually manifest notions of Event and Sensation as a bodily experience using the mise-en-scéne genre or the staged event. Select historical painters are referenced throughout the research, but Francis Bacon appears as the third solid key figure, as Deleuze’s Sensation is embedded in his unorthodox painting practice. I critically analyse strategies and devices deployed in his work and align them with that of the Leipzig painters. Insights gained from this are generated in my painting practice.

Access Note

Access to this thesis is restricted to the exegesis.