An aesthetic of the unknown

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


    This paper begins to establish an 'aesthetic of the unknown' by drawing together theorists and approaches from mainstream art criticism to provide a starting-point for an aesthetic sympathetic with Jungian perspectives, in an attempt to bridge a gap between contemporary abstract painting, contemporary art theory and Jungian studies. This is a framework for approaching the abstract painting not as an object awaiting interpretation or 'reading', but rather as something that offers a numinous experience (or experience of the unknown), which can be thought about but may remain ultimately unknowable and irreducible. Such experience - involving both the unconscious and conscious mind - would provide glimpsesof forms of meaning not accessible to full rational exposition. This type of uncosciously understood meaning is explored, acknowledging that there is a need to preserve this encounter with the unknown and a need for a contemporary critical, theoretical framework that recognises the importance of this within abstract painting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number10.1080/19409052.2014.954754
    Pages (from-to)19-32
    Number of pages13
    JournalInternational Journal of Jungian Studies
    Issue number1
    Early online date2 Jan 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015

    Bibliographical note

    E-ISSN: 1940-9060
    Print ISSN: 1940-9052


    • abstract painting, spiritual, apophatic, numinous, unknowable


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