VIS220/340: morphological analysis + project proposal

Morphological analysis is a way of forming new ideas and associations between unrelated and unquantifiable things... Starting with my what pops out from my own artwork:

1. identify a problem (ie. I need to come up with a major project idea for this semester)

2. identify the scope of how far back I want to look for inspiration and where exactly I want to look to gather things that attracts me (ie. journals, photographs, other's artwork)

3. make note of formal and/or conceptual properties that arise naturally through the process of looking

4. combining the images into chains of data or ideas that seem to resonate with each other

5. evaluate my discoveries - look at all the new ideas that have come forth and seeing which of them is enticing and could fit within the scope of a single semester's work

6. implement the project :)

(click on image to open morphological analysis full size in One Drive)


How shape is held within the confines of another, what limits us, what sets us free, control, losing control, safety and protection... Grid from left to right: a monument, the outsider, Ah squares the ever practical!, squares squares everywhere I look, the four corners of the earth, the square will protect us, the comfort and convenience of modern life, square within a square within a squares, little boxes. little boxes. little boxes., good things always come from squares, don't they?, heart-shaped box, we will overcome the square.

"What used to be there"

Scuff marks, empty spaces, what we leave behind when we're gone, indentations in the couch and on the bed... Grid from left to right: the edge of the world, time and space is nothing but a memory now, I remember when I had legs/I remember the ocean, all gone now, internal desert/the human wasteland, I miss this tree every single day, I wonder..., a monument, the forest retreats, tracks of progress on the wet earth, soon no one will remember what used to be under the concrete, neat and tidy destruction, no more hollows left: the housing crises of wildlife.


Anything that elicits a feeling of desire or wanting to touch or be touched, to lose one's self in sensation, to feel mortal and alive and aware of the transience of life... Grid from left to right: gushing losing control, come run your hands over me and smooth me out, woman = sensuality, I can feel the wind in my hair and the sun on my face, blind fingers trailing shapes and falling into valleys, rough sand between my toes, long tall straight scratching skin, nothing but soft, grabbing the impaler, sensuality = woman (and wood), fine threads sliding under fingertips, forest love, 20% of the people who see this think they're hats/the other 80%, vulvas.

"Seeing through things"

Seeing the world from the perspective of the things we own - what do they think of us. Layers of existence, worlds within worlds, illusion, the way the pixel impacts how and what we see... Grid from left to right: down to the bottom, liquid colour caught, it's all upside down, stillness, earth/water/sky, swimming in air, like an old photograph, the window crystal, we are ghosts reflected, down/down/deeper, Uma on the screen, refraction reflected, fish.


Overwhelm, visual noise reduction, details and ability to focus, simplicity, zen, release, emphasis, survival of the single being... Grid from left to right: ashes to ashes, the party animal, a soft place to land, scraping back the layers, lost in the light, survival, the reclaiming, the stranger, the light and line I see, simplicity, cycles of black and white, fingertip makeup, shades of grass.


Surprises, randomness, shock, invitations to interact, to stop and pause and look behind what's there... Grid from left to right: gaffa tape holds souls together, abandoned/cold and alone., ouch, good morning, it'll only last a second, breathing, Hi nice to meet you, it's not inevitable, good things come in threes, if I could turn back time, hello nice to meet you, colour filled the canyon, putting my butt on the line.

Formal elements

From my morphological analysis, what I'm most drawn to is a single element that's immediately apparent - emphasised either by scale or by colour... a focal point that draws you in to explore one central figure or theme... the eye gets to travel through space and stillness and nothingness in order to do that. I'm drawn to lines that create movement and action and mono-colours or tonal backgrounds with a single element of colour. Texture is also appealing: sharp points on grass and crumpled paper.

Conceptual elements

The concepts that appeal to me from the analysis are ideas of looking through something, like a filter, a screen, or a telescope minimising distraction, focusing attention and making the world go away. Apparently, I like obvious and immediate messages that hit - nothing obscure, nothing that requires too much thought to comprehend. I'm liking the interaction between nature and the dense squares of mankind. The ideas of transience, fleeting experiences, death, grief and loss are appealing and anthropomorphising the unexpected.

Something I keep coming back to is the idea of the monument... something ancient or with a heavy history... what it is to remember what used to be present and is no longer... what it is to stand in front of a monument... what people do at monuments... and what it feels like to to wonder at what once was, maybe even experience something sacred and transcendental that reconnects us to our shared humanity... the stumped tree as an altar.

Technical elements

Methods that involve applying a medium them taking it off are attractive - I find these mediums kind and easy to work with. I love being able to keep going back into the surface and playing around with it, adding layers and removing them... it's sweet balm to my perfectionistic soul :) I also like photography using just my iPhone.


Some version of this project has been brewing for a while - I'm deeply moved by the sight of tree stumps (especially big ones) and heavy-clearing machinery in action, seeing those giant clumps of trees that have been ripped out of the ground... and acres of deforested land. There's many ideas that could branch off this: a public, contributory work of art that becomes a monument to a fallen tree that local people see every day... an online social media campaign that shows people genuflecting and bowing to tree stumps... me leaving a talisman of some kind, a flower or candle at every tree stump and photographing it... quite endless! To contain the project to a single semester, it's necessary to focus energies so I'll begin with studying the tree stump in my back yard and seeing what comes from there. I'm also choosing mediums and techniques that I'm at least a bit familiar with so there won't be any steep learning curve so I can get right into it :)

Project proposal: trees that used to be

Overall description:

I propose a practice-based project to explore the tree stump as monument and altar. Based around the tree stump in my backyard and tree stumps in my local area, I'll create a series of works that explore:
  • focal point and scale
  • mono-colour
  • tonal backgrounds with a single element of colour
  • iPhone photography
  • the Tansey method of painting
  • and narrative
Proposed end product deliverables:
  • a portfolio of preliminary drawings and photographs
  • a series of drawings or one finished drawing exploring the theme
Anticipated support / resources needed:
  • iPhone
  • acrylic paint and acrylic paper or board
  • pen, ink, charcoal
  • framing for final presentation