This paper focuses on the new-materialist philosophy of Manuel DeLanda and its application to visual-art theory through the material of contemporary monochrome painting. It asks: can the monochrome act as a ‘material of thought’ to orient DeLanda’s new materialism toward theorising the materiality of art in the context of the anthropocene? The rawearth pigment monochromes and landscape interventions of Onya McCausland and the lab-grown nanotube pigment monochrome and sculpture works of Frederik De Wilde provide iterations of the monochrome for this analysis. An analysis of carbon through these artworks as a ‘material of thought’ facilitates access to the materiality of artworks more generally. This article proposes a new-materialist interpretative framework that goes beyond the parameters where meaning is produced through a phenomenological approach, through artistic intention or viewer interaction, and instead locates the artwork within assemblages constituted by human and non-human affects. It provides the basis for a new-materialist theory of art that is grounded in materiality, that constitutes the contemporary art object as a nonorganic life and one that opens up new territories for thinking art in the anthropocene.
Keywords: new materialism, Manuel DeLanda, materiality, affect, contemporary monochrome painting, nonorganic life, anthropocene
Full text: OAJ_issue7_Boardman_04 (PDF 3.8 MB)
Alan Boardman is an artist and researcher based in Ireland. His practice is engaged with painting and the materiality of art in the context of the anthropocene. He makes objects that evoke the affects of our ‘becominggeological’. Alan is also engaged in a research project on the new materialism of Manuel DeLanda and its implications for a theory of visual art.