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Seeing Anew Through Art

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Title: Seeing Anew Through Art
Author: Singer, Julie
Advisor: Macbeth, Danielle; Miller, Jerry
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of Philosophy
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2012
Abstract: I argue that engaging Paintings as a master viewer can promote a transformative experience that yields seeing objects and people in themselves. We understand our world in part through visual engagement. Visual art is unique in that it is visually experienced but is also, as art, a site at which to actively engage and question. Further, Painting is a unique form of visual art in that it is still and flat, yet can contain depth and motion. Its coloration is directly tied to how its content is experienced. Painting can serve as a source of newness in regard to how we see new objects and that which is familiar anew, as well as in regard to how we see the visual modes that structure our experience of seeing: depth, motion, and color. As such, it can be the source of experiencing what I will call the fantastical, an experience in which one sees the content of Painting in itself to the end of seeing content outside of the Painting anew, as in itself. In viewing a Painting, one can engage with objects and people in themselves, rather than as means to ends or use objects. This may lead to experiencing the fantastical to the end of seeing objects and people differently in the world, as individuals with histories and vulnerabilities rather than as defined by the articulated concepts that structure their basic identities. A master viewer can experience the fantastical. Master viewing is characterized as perceptual mastery rather than intellectual mastery. A master viewer’s engagement, centered on perception and visual engagement rather than on articulated knowledge, can allow her to experience the world differently and in a more life-affirming manner. Experiencing the fantastical can promote seeing the world anew.
Subject: Art -- Philosophy
Subject: Visual perception -- Philosophy
Subject: Painting -- Philosophy
Subject: Fantastic, The, in art
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Singer, Julie. "Seeing Anew Through Art". 2012. Available electronically from

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