Molitor’s dissertation “Chrononauts in Chromotopia: Toward an Erotics of Abstract Painting’s Materiality in the Works of Lynda Benglis and Katharina Grosse”, contributes to the interdisciplinary field of ‘queer abstraction’ by arguing for an erotics of abstract painting’s materiality. Grounded in an epistemology of sensation, the dissertation centers viewer responses to color and liquidity, painting’s unique material qualities. Visual pleasure emerges as deeply embedded within Benglis’s pigmented paint pours and as abundantly spread over Grosse’s three-dimensional painting fields.
Being in sensation with these artworks affords viewers erotic material pleasures: Witnessing the particular materialities at play elicits physical empathy in viewers that binds them to paint and color in intimate, visceral ways. Benglis’s voluminous pours appear as deep paintings filled to the brim with paint and play with lingering liquidity, thereby conjuring erotic temporalities that hold the viewer in a state of anticipation and suspension. Overpainting walls, windows and imported heaps of soil, Grosse creates vast painting-environments covered in paint and conjures fields of visual painterly pleasure that culminate in eroticized modes of sensory contact: viewers feel the ways in which color intensities relay over objects and expand spatiality as haptic bodily echoes.
These intimate forms of spectatorship account for the kind of queer relationality that unfolds when we let ourselves be sensually moved or ‘acted on’ by an artwork’s material qualities.
Dissertation abstract: Molitor_Chrononauts in Chromotopia