The Protean grid : Milan Mrkusich, formalism and change
A paradox of our time is that while every kind of art is permitted and freely celebrated, such liberation often seems to gain purchase on the ground that the art called 'modernist' exhibits 'signs of internal exhaustion' and 'repetition'. In considering the work of New Zealand's foremost and sustained modernist, Milan Mrkusich, this thesis argues a very different, rehabilitative approach to modernism. The thesis will explore different approaches that have been made to the kind of abstract art produced by Milan Mrkusich; the kind designated as modernist abstract art. Mrkusich's body of paintings exemplify a sustained exploration and development within the boundaries of modernist practices, and stand pictorially in complete denial of the claims made by certain writers, like Rosalind Krauss; of the stagnant and repetitive nature of the formalist structure of the modernist grid. This thesis argues that Mrkusich's painting and the development inherent in it requires a more expansive account of its formalist qualities than possible in the approach Krauss promotes in order to make room for the idea of change that it stands for. My elaborations around the writing of Meyer Schapiro and Richard Wollheim provide this. Their ideas offer a broader understanding of abstract art by allowing a reanimated account of it that embraces the kind of changes that occur within Mrkusich's oeuvre.
Advisor: Leech, Peter
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Art History and Theory
Publisher: University of Otago
Research Type: Thesis
viii, 103 leaves :charts, music ; 30 cm. Bibliography: leaves 88-89. University of Otago department: Art History and Theory. "December 2004."