School of Education and the Arts
Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
Professor Donna Brien, Associate Professor Anita Milroy
Doctor of Philosophy

Research Details

Thesis Name

Painting and the Encounter: Moving Beyond the System Theory of Creativity in Painting Practice to Explore the Potential for Novelty in the Fundamental Encounter

Thesis Abstract

This practice-led project interrogates the Systems Theory of Creativity, which fails to give an account of the experience of creativity and link that experience to creating something new. To address this, the project examines the notion of the 'Fundamental Encounter', described by Deleuze and Guattari as one that disrupts habits of thinking and seeing and forces the painter to reconfigure their way of interacting within the painting they make and in the domain the painter paints. This project examines how contemporary painters prepare for the fundamental encounter in their practices and tests these strategies in my painting practice.

Why my research is important/Impacts

Developing an understanding of the process and language of engaging with the fundamental encounter will account for what has largely been seen as an intuitive process and one not openly discussed in academic institutions. This will produce a series of strategies for painters to engage more mindfully and sensitively with the materials within their painting practices. It will also produce a series of effective strategies for tutors to engage students with their painting practices. This has the potential to be integrated into the tertiary education sector in that this investigation will provide a series of industry-relevant practitioner and teaching guidelines.


Waikato Institute of Techology, Hamilton, NZ