The Handed Self: Reaching Toward Individuation

By Cherie Redwood.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Immersed in a proximal tactile world, the young infant must achieve the difficult task of intrapsychically separating out self from other during the separation-individuation process. With a focus on the significance of the human hand for the separating out of subjective self from objective world, this paper draws upon the field of object relations to investigate how it is that we become individuals with a limiting ego boundary, capable of separating inside from outside and attending to the outside world. My research proposes that the intimate relationship between the hand, eye and inanimate object of focus can function to enhance body-self boundary discrimination and object relationships in a studio practice that disciplines the practitioner’s attention. I will argue that the “binding together” of hand and eye made possible in a focused painting or drawing practice opens up a psychic space approximating the ‘holding environment’ of the mother, as defined by psychological theorist Donald Winnicott, a safe potential space for exploring symbiotic union and distance at the contact boundary between self and other.

Keywords: Inside and Outside, Self and Other, Hand-Eye Attention, Body-Self Boundary, Subjective Self and Objective World, Transitional Objects or Phenomena, Vision and Touch, Rapprochement

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp.221-234. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.110MB).

Cherie Redwood

Masters by Research Candidate, School of Art, Architecture and Design, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Cherie Redwood is currently a Masters by Research candidate at the School of Art, Architecture and Design at the University of South Australia. Cherie completed her Honours degree in Visual Arts at UniSA in 2009. Her interest in the threshold between inner and outer is explored through her practice-led research project entitled Inside outside: the holding environment that investigates how the investment of attention in an activity underpins our individual sense of identity and defines a body-self boundary. Cherie began her research in the field of Early Childhood Education, an experience that continues to shape her study as a visual arts practitioner. Her studio practice explores theories of embodiment through paintings and drawings that often reference fabric as a threshold material between the body and the world.

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