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«Thesis presented to the Faculty of Arts of the University of Zurich for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Mark Staff Brandl of USA and ...»

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presented to the Faculty of Arts


the University of Zurich

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy


Mark Staff Brandl

of USA and

Mogelsberg, St.Gallen, Switzerland

Accepted in the spring semester 2011 on the

recommendation of Prof. Dr. Philip Ursprung and

Prof. Dr. Andreas Langlotz

To my father the late Earl B. Brandl,

my mother Ruth Staff Brandl, my sister Marcia Brandl-Willhite and my wife, Cornelia Kunz Brandl



Notes on Typographic Style

List of Illustrations




Tropi, Agon et Quo Vadam

Chapter One:

Wandering and Surveying; Links to Literary Theory and Contemporary Aesthetics......... 17

Chapter Two:

The Theory of Central Trope; Metaphor and Meta-Form

Chapter Three:


Chapter Four:

Conceiving Metaphor(m)s

Chapter Five:

My Metaphor(m), a Painting Installation

Chapter Six:

Central Trope in Two Contemporary Painters' Works

Chapter Seven:

Artistic Ground; Cultural Inheritance, Struggle, Respect, Material and Identity.............. 172

Chapter Eight:

Metaphor(m) and the Expanded Text Concept

Chapter Nine:

Timelines, Comics and a Plurogenic View of Art History



–  –  –


I would like to acknowledge the encouragement and assistance I have received from many people throughout my long journey researching, writing, painting and drawing this dissertation. I am deeply indebted to and appreciative of my "Doktorvater," Professor Dr Philip Ursprung. He not only set an amazing standard through his own art historical work, but motivated me while keeping me on track.

After having had some difficult experiences with other academics in the past who found my interests too far outside the acceptable consensus, I was literally floored by Dr Ursprung's ability to see to the heart of my thoughts and desires, often even more clearly than I could myself, and then to encourage me to apply them in original ways. He continuously challenged me to be ever more creative and experimental in the form and argumentation in my dissertation. It was his insight that, since I am an artist as well as art historian, and since I was fashioning a theory rooted in the embodiment of creativity, I must performatively do that as well within my dissertation's form. He has been a source of inspiration in my studies, my dissertation and my art, above and beyond that of most other teachers I have encountered. This object before you would not have existed without him.

Likewise, my second advisor, Professor Dr Andreas Langlotz was a continual source of inspiration to me. I sought him out originally in order to have an expert to keep close watch on my borrowings and use of cognitive science and cognitive metaphor theory. While he did indeed perform that function admirably, Dr Langlotz has been much more than this. He was a source of revelatory ideas for the entire structure of my dissertation, with its multimedial and cross-disciplinary hubris. Although he is a scientist and scholar, like an ideal professor of fine art he frequently saw where my ideas were leading me and advocated even more inventiveness and courage on my part.

I also wish to thank those who have consistently supported me in my idiosyncratic combination of interests: painting, installation, art history, philosophy, art theory and comics. Dr Daniel F. Ammann has been my exciting and imaginative dialogue partner since my arrival in Switzerland some in 1988.

This theory began in free-for-all brainstorming-like discussions with him. Dr Thomas Emil Homerin has been my main intellectual discourse partner since we were 10 years old. He was often there for me even from afar when I needed to sound out ideas in this dissertation. There are many, many others who have been direct sources of inspiration and information to me when I needed them. These include: Dr Clemens Müller, my Latin professor, who encouraged me to continue when I met some resistance before, fortunately, discovering Dr Ursprung. Dr George Lakoff, a source for my theory, who I first called out of the blue, but who took time for me at a peak of his media fame. Dr Cornel West has always inspired me, both through his writings and recently personally as well. Dr David Carrier, an internationally important art historian and philosopher has been a continually stirring correspondent via email and his own numerous books. Dr Arthur Danto could have viewed me as troublesome, especially as I challenge George Dickey's philosophy of the ontology of art based on Dr Danto's work.

Dr Danto is far too famous and important to have repeatedly taken time to comment on my dissertation-in-progress as he did (as I posted it on-line chapter by chapter). Dr James Elkins, another superstar of current art history, who truly deserves this status, also found time amidst his prolific productivity to comment on aspects of my dissertation. Comic book artist Gene "the Dean" Colan, famed for his artwork for 7 decades, has inspired me since I was a child. He and his late wife Adrienne became my friends in recent years and their continual, personal comment on and support of my work has been motivating. Jeffrey Hoke is an incredible artist with whom I have been befriended since we were in undergraduate studies and worked at the natural history museum in Chicago together. He gave me extensive and highly personal feedback after the first several chapters, when I most needed it. John Haber, my favorite New York art critic took the time to read the entire work in its second-to last draft, giving me detailed feedback. I was awarded a three-week residency as a working-guest of the Dr Robert and Lina Thyll-Dürr Foundation at the Casa Zia Lina on the island of Elba, Italy in the summer ii of 2010. Due to this superb experience I was able to bring the largest part of this dissertation to a close, working day and night, but feeling as if I were on a luxury vacation. Thank you to them. My gratitude is also owed to Marcus Landert, the Director of the Art Museum of Thurgovia for encouraging me to turn this dissertation into several exhibitions as well. Dr Ginger Campbell's podcasts on neuroscience from her website, Brain Science Podcast were a continuous spring of motivation, re-inspiring me each time I listened to them in my car while driving to teach art history or while walking my dog River in the forest. There are many more who have helped me who I do not mention here: thanks to you all.

–  –  –


Tropes The typographical conventions of style in this paper for presenting figurative phrases, metaphors and metaphor themes are the ones established by the preeminent journal in the field, Metaphor and Symbol. Figurative sentences or phrases are set in quoted lower-case italics (e.g., "My soul is an enchanted boat"). Expressions of foundational metaphors (also termed metaphor themes or metaphor formulas) are set in quoted upper-case italics (e.g., "LIFE IS A JOURNEY"). Subordinate instances of these foundational themes are set in quoted lower-case italics ("Our relationship has come a long way"). This is based on George Lakoff's work, but with some slight changes. Thus, although he and his co-authors' books established the field, quotations from their works prefigure and do not always follow this scheme.

–  –  –


fig. 1 Cover Prelude: Tropi, Agon et Quo Vadam

fig. 2 Cover Chapter One: Wandering and Surveying

fig. 3 Wandering and Surveying: the Names

fig. 4 Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon

fig. 5 Denis Oppenheim, Early Morning Blues

fig. 6 Cover Chapter Two: Metaphor(m)

fig. 7 René Magritte, La trahison des images

fig. 8 The Chart of Metaphor(m)

fig. 9 Vincent van Gogh, The Potato Eaters

fig. 10 Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night

fig. 11 Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait

fig. 12 The Chart of Vincent van Gogh's Metaphor(m)

fig. 13 Chart of a Biblical Chiasm

fig. 14 The Diagram of Ernest Hemingway's Metaphor(m)

fig. 15 Cover Chapter Three: Excursus

fig. 16 The Chart of the Author's Metaphor(m)

fig. 17 Cover Chapter Four: Conceiving Metaphor(m)s

fig. 18 Jeff Clemens, Layout and Blocking for Black Dawn, Issue 1, Page 18

fig. 19 Joe Corroney, Layout and Blocking for Star Wars: Empire No. 25, Page 3

fig. 20 Nam June Paik, WareZ Academy

fig. 21 Bill Viola, Heaven and Earth

fig. 22 Cover Chapter Five: My Metaphor(m)

fig. 23 Olaf Gulbransson, Es war Einmal, Page 22

fig. 24 My Metaphor(m), a Panels painting-installation

fig. 25 Detail of The Chart of the Author's Metaphor(m)

fig. 26 Sketchbook Notes About Wall for Installation

fig. 27 Carried Away, Panels and Covers Installation

fig. 28 Diego Velázquez, Detail of Las Meninas

–  –  –

fig. 30 Drawing Study for Painting

fig. 31 Self-Portrait, My Metaphor(m)

fig. 32 Detail, My Metaphor(m), Center Sequence

fig. 33 Detail, My Metaphor(m), Dog Left

fig. 34 Detail, My Metaphor(m), Cat Right

fig. 35 Diego Velázquez, Detail of Mirror in Las Meninas

fig. 36 Detail, My Metaphor(m), Bottom of Door

fig. 37 Jackson Pollock, Out of the Web: Number 7, 1949

fig. 38 Jackson Pollock, Untitled (Cut-Out)

fig. 39 Jackson Pollock, Untitled (Cut-Out Figure)

fig. 40 Jackson Pollock, Figure

fig. 41 Jackson Pollock, Portrait and a Dream

fig. 42 Gene Colan, Daredevil and Micro Battling Thugs

fig. 43 Gene Colan, Just Imagine: Wonder Woman

fig. 44 Portrait Study of Gene Colan

fig. 45 Portrait of Gene Colan and Cliff Meth

fig. 46 George Herriman, Krazy Kat Sunday strip

fig. 47 George Herriman, Detail, panel from Krazy Kat

fig. 48 Diego Velázquez, Detail of Artist and Canvas in Las Meninas

fig. 49 Detail of My Metaphor(m), Left "Page" of Sequence

fig. 50 Detail of My Metaphor(m), Right "Page" of Sequence

fig. 51 Cover Chapter Six: Central Trope, Two Contemporary Painters

fig. 52 Charles Boetschi, Color Unit 24.1

fig. 53 The Diagram of Charles Boetschi's Metaphor(m)

fig. 54 Leonard Bullock, To/For Whom It May Concern

fig. 55 Leonard Bullock, Ride!

fig. 56 Leonard Bullock, The Donor/der Spender

fig. 57 Leonard Bullock, Seinpost

fig. 58 Titian, Votive Picture of the Pesaro Family

–  –  –

fig. 60 David Reed, #442

fig. 61 Mary Heilmann, Kelly's Cove

fig. 62 Jonathan Lasker, Ascension

fig. 63 The Diagram of Leonard Bullock's Metaphor(m)

fig. 64 Leonard Bullock, Eidophor (Dispute with Imitators)

fig. 65 Cover Chapter Seven: Call and Response Agon

fig. 66 PowerPoint Image1 from Speech

fig. 67 PowerPoint Image 2, Intercultural

fig. 68 PowerPoint Image 3, Me in My Role as an Art Historian

fig. 69 PowerPoint Image 4, Me in My Role as an Artist

fig. 70 PowerPoint Image 5, Portrait Sketches of Philosophers

fig. 71 PowerPoint Image 6, Lennon and Superman Painting

fig. 72 PowerPoint Image 7, Struggle

fig. 73 PowerPoint Image 8, Respect

fig. 74 PowerPoint Image 9, Preacher and Congregation

fig. 75 PowerPoint Image 10, Paintings and Painting-Installations of Mine

fig. 76 PowerPoint Image 11, Polyhistorical

fig. 77 PowerPoint Image 12, Identity

fig. 78 Cover Chapter Eight: Metaphor(m) and The Expanded Text Concept

fig. 79 Jonathan Lasker, Systemic Autonomy

fig. 80 Stephen Westfall, Tunnel Vision

fig. 81 David Reed, #575

fig. 82 Wesley Kimler, Papillon

fig. 83 Mark Francis, Ventril

fig. 84 Cover Chapter Nine: Timelines

fig. 85 Cartoon Post-His-Terakal

fig. 86, 87 and 88 Quicky Crash Course Timelines

fig. 89 James Elkins, Imaginary Conception of Art History

–  –  –

fig. 91 Models of Art History Timelines

fig. 92 Standard Timeline Model

fig. 93 Vasari, Timeline Model

fig. 94 Myron, The Discobolus

fig. 95 Hegel, Timeline Model

fig. 96 Wölfflin, Timeline Model

fig. 97 Gombrich, Timeline Model

fig. 98 Gustave Courbet, Bonjour Monsieur Courbet

fig. 99 Danto, Timeline Model

fig. 100 Andy Warhol, Brillo Boxes

fig. 101 Timeline of Pluralisms

fig. 102 Postmodern, Timeline Model

fig. 103 Non-Hegemonic/Symptomatic, Timeline Model

fig. 104 Chart of Comparative Timelines

fig. 105 Timeline Models of Comics History

fig. 106 Homogenous Lump, Timeline Model

fig. 107 Erratic, Timeline Model

fig. 108 Originless Steady State, Timeline Model

fig. 109 Rodolphe Toepffer, Pages from Histoire de M. de M.Vieux Bois

fig. 110 Peaks and Valleys, Timeline Model

fig. 111 Superheroes, timeline Model

fig. 112 Alternative, Timeline Model

fig. 113 Comic Covers: Genres

fig. 114 Pluralistic Denouement, Timeline Model

fig. 115 Sectarian, Timeline Model

fig. 116 Disputes/Building, Timeline Model

fig. 117 Rope Illustration

fig. 118 Multistrand, Timeline Model

fig. 119 Brandl/Perreault Braided Rope, Timeline Model

–  –  –



Mark Staff Brandl This dissertation presents, tests, embodies and performs a theory of trope in visual art.

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