Perceptual constraints and perceptual schemata: The possibility of perceptual style

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 61 (3):259–273 (2003)
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<The definitive version is available at > -- In this paper I carve out a space between the concept of "the object" and the seemingly endless ways in which "the object" can be represented pictorially. I will call the aspect of the pictorial representation which is made possible by this space, the pictorial representation's "style". I will explore this space by drawing upon theories of pictorial representation, leaving out, for the sake of my purposes here, a consideration of the artist's intention. That an attribution of "style" can be comprehensive while leaving out a consideration of artists' intentions, I will argue by adopting the conceptual framework of Paul Thom's theory of interpretation. Before embarking on my project, I begin with a brief overview of the rather slippery notion of "style".

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Jennifer A. McMahon
University of Adelaide


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