Mark Staff Brandl
What am I interested in here? Metaphor and art! I am an artist and art historian with a major
interest in cognitive metaphor theory. I wrote my PhD
dissertation on an original theory of metaphor in visual art.
My book, titled Metaphor(m): Engaging a Theory of Central Trope in Art, presents and embodies my thesis that the formal, technical and stylistic aspects of artists’ approaches concretely manifest content in culturally and historically antithetical ways through a uniquely discovered trope. My philosophy, termed metaphor(m) or the theory of central trope, is grounded in conceptual metaphor and cognitive science, particularly that of George Lakoff (with Mark Turner and Mark Johnson) as well as Harold Bloom's idea of poetic misprision. This concept is applied to painting, installation art, electronic media, the expanded text concept, art history timeline models, comics, and artistic cultural inheritance. This dissertation is in the traditional form of a book, but with the addition of paintings and sections in sequential comic form as well as an actual installation comprised largely of paintings. The title logo of the cover of my dissertation is the image above.
A wee pat on my own back: my supervising professors, art historian Dr Philip Ursprung and cognitive scientist Dr Andreas Langlotz also awarded me the honor of magna cum laude, praising the work in particular for its exceptional originality. My PhD from the University of Zürich Switzerland was awarded on 20 May 2011.
The famed philosopher Arthur Danto says of my dissertation that “there cannot be many dissertations that are quite that creative and colorful.” Art historian James Elkins concurs, saying “it is the most colorful dissertation ever!”
My dissertation is now in the process of being expanded and translated into an art exhibition and painting-installation with the curatorial advice of Markus Landert, Director of the Art Museum of Thurgovia Switzerland. It will be shown first in Zürich.
In this site I, with my friend and metaphor and art colleague Mark G. Taber, wish to discuss and apply our ideas in this direction. We think this area of thought is very important and inspirational. As Mark T says, "I believe that ideas have real consequences in the world." Hopefully, through this site we will be creating discussion with many fellow artists as well as metaphor researchers, art and literature theorists, those interested in the arts and more, particularly on our Facebook page.
Talk to and with you soon! — MSB