Strange connections : an investigation into the combining of recognisable and disparate imagery in a contemporary painting practice

Thumbnail Image
Other Title
Croucher, Rosanne
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Master of Design
Unitec Institute of Technology
Hooper, Julian
MacKinnon, Toni
Henzell, Jane
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
modernist painting
creative process in art
imagery in art
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Croucher, R. (2013). Strange connections : an investigation into the combining of recognisable and disparate imagery in a contemporary painting practice. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Design). Unitec Institute of Technology. Retrieved from
This research project investigates how the practice of joining familiar and disparate imagery together can create new contexts of meaning and effect in a contemporary painting practice. In the era of Modernism, artists sought to reconfigure established art conventions, birthing many artistic discoveries through the emergence of different avant-garde movements. The artworks produced were radically new for their time, challenging modes of representation, methods of making art and the very constitution of art itself. The Surrealists discovered the potential of combining the unfamiliar in creating new realities. They harnessed the creative potential of the sub conscious mind through employing methods that relied on the roles of chance, intuition and surprise in the art-making process. My research explores the visual interaction of disparate elements within a methodology that utilises both chance and reason in the creative process. The nature of combination can yield infinite possibilities, and therefore combining imagery for the purpose of seeking out original meanings, effects and aesthetic properties required a continuous interrogation of the image to take place. Negotiating a balance between strangeness and familiarity in imagery led me to draw on aesthetic theories based on beauty, repulsion and the strange. Defining preferences for formal painting qualities arose through applying this theoretical knowledge in conjunction with the practical knowledge gained through the experience and materiality of painting. The integration of planning, chance, playfulness and problem solving in the making process broadened my understanding of how art can be made effectively. With a synthesis of formal and conceptual qualities, my work became more effective and engaging. This has led to a greater understanding of practice related research.
Link to ePress publication
Copyright holder
Copyright notice
All rights reserved
Copyright license
Available online at