Phenomenology, Speculative Realism, and Objecthood

Madison Williams

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About Madison

During the last few years, I have been studying at MSU Denver, learning about art and thinking about how the objects we surround ourselves with. These mean something about who we are and our past experiences. I am passionate about the ability of art to tell stories, and how much value and information small scale still life paintings hold. Throughout my life, I have been curious about memory and how we attach to and identify with certain objects. Researching what our visible and perceived reality is, versus our reality 'truth', inspired my symposium project and created a drive to research what things we surround ourselves with to maintain our perceived reality. By this, I paint still-life pictures of objects that either has particular meaning to myself or to others in my life.

About Madison's Research

My collection of work is about my curiosity regarding our connection and experiences with inanimate objects, and how we remember those objects over time. Our memories and experiences are how we, as a society, build our relationships, our connections, and our lives. This artwork consists of seven, seven-inch square,  paintings that depict the items that people have identified within their life, based on their memories and connections with those objects in their lifetime. This collection came after research into two theories and theologist studies, phenomenology, and speculative realism, as well as three artists, Deborah Aschheim, Victor Burgin, and Jackson Pollock, who have committed parts of their practice to create artwork based around time and memory.

Phenomenology is the study of the structures of experience and consciousness. Speculative Realism is a theory about our reality and states that whatever we believe is reality, is because it is being experienced that way to the viewer. My research into performance art practices, objecthood, and memory has revealed that it is human nature to have sensations and assign meaning to things that we have in our experiences, and for those sensations and meanings to be different for everyone, even in instances where multiple people have experienced the same thing. The resulting paintings are a visual representation of my research.