Robin Marriner

Personal statement

My central interest is in how visual objects mean and what is sayable (verbalisable) about that. My research and teaching explores, philosophically and theoretically at a general level and in relation to specific examples the conditions of meaning of art objects, (and on occasion, the implications of that for enabling an understanding of that meaning). The terrain over which these concerns are addressed (and to which contributions are sometimes made) is contemporary art culture: the relationships between theory and criticism and contemporary art practice, particularly that of painting, photography, and sculpture.

All published material with varying degrees of emphasis engages with both philosophical/theoretical issues and the reading of visual work (offering new readings that contest the 'received ones'); for example in those listed below the LA Law piece is weighted towards a discussion of the works, the Derrida weighted towards theory, and the Paying One's Dues piece fairly equally balanced, involving a critique of Barthes and a discussion of the paintings of Ofili and Ortez-Torres. Of concern in all of them, (and in earlier and more recentpublications) are epistemological issues concerning the grounding of meaning and the ontology of art works and in particular a consideration of the ways in which these are differently perceived within Modernism and Postmodernism. In respect of both readings of art works and consideration of philosophical ideas, for example recently in relation to Derrida and Barthes, the essays go beyond the literature current (at the time of their writing) within the field.

Academic qualifications

  • BA (Hons) - University College London.

Professional qualifications

  • BA (Hons), Philosophy - University College London.

External examiners

  • 1996-1999 MAs in Contemporary Art and Theory; Material Culture Winchester School of Art
  • 2002-6 BA (Hons) Vis Culture, University of Gloucester
  • 2004-7 BA (Hons) Media Arts, University of Plymouth
  • 2004-7 BA (Hons) Hist of Art and Design UCE.

Other external roles

  • Intro lectures for 'Commotion: Artists Film and Video'; Picture This and Arnolfini, Bristol. Feb Mar April Oct Nov, 2002
  • 'Postmodernism and Art Practice'. Day Symposium. University of Bristol, Oct 2002
  • Exhibition Talks in relation to 'Albert Oehlen' Nov 2006, 'Pale Carnage' March 2007,'Lucy McKenzie' Oct 2007, 'Bill Owens Suburbia Revisited' Marc 2008, Arnolfini Gallery Bristol.

Teaching specialisms

  • Art History and Art Criticism of the latter half of 20C and Contemporary
  • Critical Theory, particularly in relation to epistemology and aesthetics
  • Postmodernism.

Recent scholarship

  • “Lee Friedlander: Photography and the Aesthetics of Abstract Painting”, available via The American Suburb X.

Recent professional updating

  • Archive and gallery research in Los Angeles (Summer 2003)
  • Archive and Gallery research in New York (Easter 2005) 
  • Gallery Research in New York (April 2011) 
  • Peer reviewer, "Photographies" Routledge. 2011 and 2012 
  • Peer reviewer, "Painting with Architecture in Mind", (ed) Whitaker E and Landrum A, Wunderkammer Press, 2012.

Research supervision

PhDs supervised to completion:

  • Mark Making and Melancholia in Painting: A language for visual representation of the Melancholic (2014)*
  • Demanding Time: Artists’ Still Motion Films exploring locations and environments. *
  • The Vital Space of Painting: Changing perceptual and material conditions of space and place and viewer in contemporary European abstract painting (2009)
  • Visual Art, Art Criticism, and Sexual Identity: An analysis of Selected Criticism and Artworks of the 1980s and 1990s examining the roles notions of Sexual Identity played in their Reception and Production (2006)

Currently Director of Studies and supervisor for three PhD projects:

  • Chance as an Operating Strategy in Contemporary Abstract Painting: Purpose, Process, Meaning*
  • Real Unreality: the photograph in and as a source of contemporary art*
  • Mark Making, layers and erasure: an investigation into abandoned places through contemporary painting*

Currently acting as second supervisor for the following: 

  • Engaging Curators: navigating the gaps between curatorship and audience engagement in the small, regional museums in a neoliberal climate.

* Signifies PhD in Fine Art.

Research and academic outputs

Go to ResearchSPAce

At the boundary of image and paint: Zhang Enli's 'Four seasons'

Marriner, R (2015) 'At the boundary of image and paint: Zhang Enli's 'Four seasons'.' In: Zhang Enli: four seasons. Distanz Publishing, pp. 17-23. ISBN 9783954761159

Visual Culture and Contemporary Art: Reframing the Picture, Recasting the Object?

Marriner, R (2012) 'Visual Culture and Contemporary Art: Reframing the Picture, Recasting the Object?' In: Heywood, I and Sandywell, B, eds. The Handbook of Visual Culture. Berg, Oxford, pp. 164-183. ISBN 9781847885739

On Sampling the Pleasures of Visual Culture: Postmodernism and Art Education

Marriner, R (2006) 'On Sampling the Pleasures of Visual Culture: Postmodernism and Art Education.' In: Hardy, Tom, ed. Readings in Art and Design Education Series: Art Education in a Postmodern World. Bristol & Portland USA. Intellect Books & NSEA., pp. 125-136. ISBN 1841501468

Derrida and the Parergon

Marriner, R (2002) 'Derrida and the Parergon.' In: Smith, Paul and Wilde, Carolyn, eds. A Companion to Art Theory. Blackwell Publishing, pp. 349-359. ISBN 631207627

LA Law: Ingrid Calame, Laura Owens, Monique Prieto

Marriner, R (2001) 'LA Law: Ingrid Calame, Laura Owens, Monique Prieto.' Contemporary Visual Arts, 32. pp. 36-41. ISSN 1028-5040

Art, Design and Visual Culture

Marriner, R (2013) Art, Design and Visual Culture. In: Visual Culture 2013, 10 - 11 July 2013, Loughborough.

Photography and the Aesthetics of Abstract Painting

Marriner, R (2012) Photography and the Aesthetics of Abstract Painting. In: Helsinki Photomedia Conference 2012, 28 - 30 March 2012, Helsinki, Finland.

Paying One's Dues: refiguring agency, authenticity and originality

Marriner, R (2005) Paying One's Dues: refiguring agency, authenticity and originality. In: Predicaments in Visual Culture: Theorising Creativity, Watershed, Bristol.

Edit profile | Website feedback to