Why are the visual arts so important and what is it that makes their forms significant? Countering recent interpretations of meaning that understand visual artworks on the model of literary texts, Crowther formulates a theory of the visual arts based on what their creation achieves both cognitively and aesthetically. He develops a phenomenology that emphasizes how visual art gives unique aesthetic expression to factors that are basic to perception. At the same time, he shows how various artistic media embody these factors in distinctive ways. Attentive to both the creation and reception of all major visual art forms (picturing, sculpture, architecture, and photography), Phenomenology of the Visual Arts also addresses complex idioms, including abstract, conceptual, and digital art.
Paul Crowther is Professor of Philosophy at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He is the author of a number of books, including the recent Defining Art, Creating the Canon: Artistic Value in an Era of Doubt (2007).