Mary Lou Pavlovic

The Enchanted Water Garden at the Never Ending Colour Wall

PhD candidate

  • Mary Lou Pavlovic

My studio research was influenced by Bali, Indonesia, a place I find very beautiful. There, water, flowers and bright or checked fabrics draped around public fixtures are seen in abundance throughout the built environment. I have created a whole trajectory of sculptures inspired by Balinese decorative floral water bowls and a public artwork that bears a relationship to draped, patterned fabrics around Balinese architecture. The aesthetic ideas that I drew on from Bali were incorporated largely into conventional Western art forms.

In the spirit of experimentation my studio research, however, also developed into collaboration with a Balinese Hindu traditional woodcarver, Ketut Suaka. Interested in the issue of beauty, I discovered that flowers were a symbol for beauty in Western art history, philosophy and Balinese Hinduism. Also that colour, movement and intensity were signs for attractiveness often employed in Western visual art. These ideas enabled the framework for the research to become more objective, as opposed to solely investigating what I found personally beautiful. Beauty has often been marginalised in recent Western art history, deemed a conservative subject. Alternatively, my exegesis pursued the question can the consideration of beauty in the artwork be a critically viable method in visual art today? My research focused on whether or not the abstract and open-ended term beauty could be positioned provocatively in the field of contemporary art.