Summative, Visionary Imagination

Visionary Imagination Summative Entry

Visionary Imagination, as expressed in the work of William Blake, Patrick White and Brett Whiteley has given me a new way of seeing and understanding the world.

This unit has asked me to explore the concept of Visionary Imagination. Entering this unit, I had never previously heard of Visionary Imagination nor did I know what to expect from this unit. I had come across the name of William Blake in passing and knew he was connected to literature in some way or another and I had known of Brett Whiteley to be the wife of Wendy, the creator of Wendy’s Secret Garden in Sydney’s North, yet I had somehow never come across his art. Over the past 12 or so weeks I have had me delve into this concept of the Visionary Imagination head on, not only exploring what this concept is but also teaching me to understand the way it is expressed through the works of others and also how I too can express this concept within my own work.

In each there is one or two key pieces that sticks with me well after the unit is complete. In my last unit, American Literature, this was the work of Allen Ginsberg (specifically ‘Howl’). In this unit it has been William Blake’s ‘Nurses Song’ and Brett Whiteley’s ‘Alchemy’. As with the Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’, a longstanding favourite of mine, both these works are highly visual in the sense that whether they are read or viewed you are able to clearly imagine the visual scene explored within the piece. When studying both versions of Blake’s ‘Nurses Song’ I was able to clearly identify the two contrasting scenes he had created; the setting, the tone and the choice of words used for each. Not only did this create a visual for me, it helped me to understand different perspectives within texts that are both the same and also different and the ways in which these different perspectives can be presented.

Visiting Brett Whiteley’s studio was incredible. While I’m not usually a major fan of studying art, I was absolutely blown away by the sheer magnificence of Whiteley’s ‘Alchemy’. It is one thing to hear an artwork described, but to see the size and detail of the artwork in real person allowed me to understand the level of thought and planning that must have gone into its creation. I have never experienced intertextuality carried out so incredibly successfully within a piece prior to that day and it has really helped me to see how so many different things within our world can be connected and brought together in order to create one big story.

These two pieces I have written about along with the contents of my blog posts and the numerous discussions, readings and group performance work we have carried out so far in this unit have helped me to not only gain a deeper understanding of the concept of the Visionary Imagination, but they have also given me a deeper understanding of the world around me and the ways in which I view this world. I feel as though I am able to view the world in a different light and have improved on my ability to share these newfound understandings and perspectives with the world.

This unit has been an incredible journey and a wonderful end to my unit selections as an English major.