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Visual arts book a first for Western Australia

Cite Magazine

Edited by Curtin senior lecturer Dr Ann Schilo and contributed to by Curtin researchers Dr Susanna Castleden, Dr Thea Costantino, Dr Anna Nazzari and Dr Anna Sabadini, Visual Arts Practice and Affect: Place, Materiality and Embodied Knowing is believed to be the first book about Western Australian visual culture that has been published by an internationally renowned academic publishing house.

Cover of Visual Arts Practice and Affect

As part of the Place, Memory, Affect series by Rowman & Littlefield International, which “seeks to extend and deepen debates around the interactions of place, memory, and affect in innovative and challenging ways”, the book discusses our conversations and encounters with art, and highlights the role of art as a reflection of culture in Western Australia.

“The book is about understanding a sense of place from the perspective of the visual arts. Each author explores how their art practice is both a response to and a means of creating their understanding of being here in Western Australia,” says editor Dr Schilo.

“A key feature is that the authors write from the perspective of the practice itself in order to acknowledge the reciprocity between ideas and art making, theory and practice.”

Dr Schilo believes the book will particularly intrigue people who are interested in the visual arts and creative practices, as well as postgraduate students and researchers who want to learn more about place-cultural geography, social sciences and Western Australian culture.

“My research has always been centred around Western Australian visual culture, particularly work by female artists. Some years ago, a senior researcher advised me that I would need to change my focus if I wanted an international profile, because no-one was interested in Western Australian art. Now I am glad I continued working in my chosen field,” she says.

While Dr Schilo led the production of this book, she acknowledges that the ‘real story’ is one of collaboration between her and the other authors, who are all Curtin staff members.

“Over the year or so it took to produce the book, we developed a deep respect and trust in each other. I think for all of us that level of engagement, of scholarly collegiality, was the highlight of our academic lives,” she says.

“For me, it’s been a privilege to work with such inspiring women.”

ISBN: 978-1783487370

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Review:

“Beautifully written, Visual Arts Practice and Affect unravels key geographic concepts – place, landscape, region, space, and body – while seeking ‘ways of drawing an intelligence’ about the ‘practical aesthetics’ and challenges that constitute visual arts practice. Readers follow the journeys of five non-Indigenous female artist-scholars based in Western Australia as they navigate ruins, whale teeth, topographics, colonial settler subjectivities, scholarly texts, paintings, granite boulders, mappings and print-making.”

Professor Karen Till, Senior Lecturer, Maynooth University, Ireland

About the authors

Dr Ann Schilo is a senior lecturer at Curtin University and frequent supervisor of doctoral students. Her research investigates a number of key themes in contemporary art theory and practice, with a particular interest in the areas of women’s artistic practices, feminist art theory, the visualisation of place, and folk material culture.

Dr Susanna Castleden is a senior lecturer and Director of Research and Graduate Studies in Curtin University’s School of Design and Art. She is interested in developing experimental processes associated with image transference and reproduction.

Dr Thea Costantino is the coordinator of the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) program at Curtin University. Her research interests include post colonialism, the grotesque and the representation of history.

Dr Anna Nazzari is a senior lecturer at Curtin University. Her interests are varied, encompassing drawing, sculpture, electronics and film.

Dr Anna Sabadini is a sessional academic at Curtin University. Her research interests lie in painting and the creative process for national and international publications.

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