Contemporary Hybrid Painting: The Poetics of a Post-Medium Condition.

The history of the medium of painting has involved various metamorphoses from cave, to architecture, to easel and most recently the radical hybridisation of painting as an expanded multimedia form. Through each age the shedding of one aspect of painting, ritual, spirituality, portability has resulted in a shift from sacred static images towards profane ephemeral events. This transformation has intensified over the last century where the repeated announcement of the death of painting has seen painting reborn as a mode of self questioning, separating off from itself so as to find new ways of being painting.

This paper takes an overview of painting’s morphology by way of Heidegger’s discussion of the Greek term phusis, a self unfolding emergence, that drives all matter, ranging from the earth itself through to the material element of the artwork in the moment of its making. By focusing on phusis, and related terms morphe and poesis,  an understanding of ‘original aesthetics’ (Greek thinking on painting and sculpture) can be developed for comparison with contemporary art in its ‘post-medium condition’ (Krauss).

The new ontological paradigm of contemporary art evokes another discourse, a ‘post aesthetics’ that overcomes the subjective bias of modern philosophical aesthetics in favour of a primary relationship to things and their mode of presence in the world. As a result, contemporary expanded painting is shown to be a radical revision of art , a moment of ontological ‘presencing’ favouring spatial environments and temporal events that reveal ‘what is’ and ‘what matters’ in a contemporary techno-scientific age.


Mark Titmarsh (born 1955, Ingham, Australia, Phd, UTS, 2009) is a visual artist working in painting, video and writing. His paintings and filmwork are currently held in public collections across Australia, and in private collections in Europe and the United States.
His current work executed under the rubric of ‘expanded painting’ is painting about painting or painting that dissimulates into objects, videos and texts. Recent work has included paintings on industrial materials, environments of fluorescent string and video works for mobile phones. In early 2006 he was a cofounder of the artist run space, Loose Projects.
Mark is currently a tenured, part time lecturer in the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, where he has taught Image Making and Screen Media Production in the Visual Communication Program since 1999.