MSB brainstorming

17 April 2023

Dr Great Art Podcast Episode 74: I'm Back! Visual Metaphor


 Dr Great Art Podcast Episode 74: I'm Back! Visual Metaphor
The podcast is back after a break of about one year. I was extremely busy wrapping up my book titled ‘A Philosophy of Visual Metaphor in Contemporary Art’ for Bloomsbury Press. This is the first of an arc of podcast episodes where I will be working my way somewhat improvisationally through the book. Not reading it out-loud, though. I will go through and find certain details, points, examples, artists and ideas that I want to expand on or use as springboards.

Link to Podcast:
all episodes:

Bloomsbury link:


Hi, This is Mark Staff Brandl, with the 74th "Dr Great Art" brief podcast. I hope you enjoy this one.
I have been gone from this podcast for about one year. I know I have regularly listeners, and have still been getting a large number of listeners, so I am really sorry.

I was extremely wrapping up my book titled A Philosophy of Visual Metaphor in Contemporary Art for Bloomsbury Press for the "Aesthetics and Contemporary Art" Series, David Carrier and Tiziana Andina, editors). It has been released, just a week or so ago if you are listening to this when I first posted it. You can get it at all the usual outlets, as Bloomsbury is a major publishing house: i.e. Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or directly from Bloomsbury. If you get it from Bloomsbury use can use the discount code to save 35%: GLR CA4UK in the UK, GLR CA4US in the US.

I am aiming for regular podcast episodes again from now on. Of course, this is due to the stimulation of my book being out and to attract attention to it. I will be working my way somewhat improvisationally through the book. HOWEVER, NOT reading it out-loud. I still want everyone to do that for themselves (or else why write a book). I will go through and find certain details, points, examples, artists and ideas that I had actually wanted to expand, or indeed had written more about but needed to edit out to keep the book to the required length. Then, I will talk about those things in episodes here, and use them as springboards as well. I hope you enjoy these. Please feel free to write to me email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter if you have suggestions or comments.

This Episode is titled: I’M BACK! VISUAL METAPHOR.
Let’s start. How about the cover. Can’t get more beginning-ish than that! It features about 90 % of a painting by me titled Wandering and Surveying, from 2013, oil alkyd, acrylic and sign-painters enamel on canvas, 160 x 100 cm / 63 in. x 40 in. On it I am represented looking through a theodolite, a now old-fashioned land surveyors’ optical instrument, viewing a mind-map-like array of many of the names of the theorists and philosophers who I reflected on in my speculations. I worked throughout my undergraduate / bachelor’s university studies in surveying to help pay for my studies. In Masters study, I got paid from the university and worked at a record store. By the time of PhD studies, I was already an assistant professor-teacher. And being an extensively exhibiting artist the whole time. Whew. Nowadays, they use more sophisticated instruments with built in GPS and more. We did not even have calculators much when I started! The names are people who I both found inspiration in, as well as several I thoroughly disagree with, but who I nonetheless find important. These names are connected by lines as I see relationships among them, each name painted in a logo-like form reflecting their interests.

Yes, I knew that the lines would end up in a rather spaghetti-like maze of crisscrossing vectors. That reflects some of what I went through too. Mostly, the painting reveals my Diogenes-like wandering through their works and thoughts, seeking wise council which I applied in my own way as tools of understanding. The "world" of my theory is thus delineated indirectly in readers' minds, somewhat obliquely, metaphorically, metonymically, synecdochically. Wow, that is hard to say. Such a format models the searching, stumbling path of theoretical discovery itself, while dramatically foregrounding the social, cultural and historical bonds which constitute the theory's nexus — links to others in the original as well as computer-jargon sense.

Since I further developed my theory extensively after 2013 until 2023 when the book came out, there should have been 10 years of name changes, additions and subtraction. But I left it as a hopefully visually evocative artwork. The bottom, my face, was somewhat truncated for publication to fit the constraints of the cover design. You can find the original in total if you so desire on my art website: under “Images.”

The main names that need calling out are Cognitive Metaphor Theory, that is George Lakoff, Mark Johnson and Mark Turner. Also, a BIGGIE Noël Carroll, and Hans-Georg Gadamer, Cornel West, various Feminists, Julia Kristeva, Mikhail Bakhtin, Daniel F. Ammann, Th. Emil Homerin, R. A. Sharpe, David Carrier, Arthur Danto and several Philosophical Pragmatist philosophers.

Next Episode I will talk about a few points in the recommendations on the cover then on to the Intro and perhaps first chapter. I will talk about the frontispiece illustrations as well, which can all be viewed on social media and but are best in the book! The link on Bloomsbury Press to the book is in the text for this podcast. I hope to keep these episodes short and sweet, thus this is the end of this one, the first of the book arc. If you read the book, as I hope you will, and enjoy it, please write a review on Amazon, Goodreads and others as that will help attract attention to it, and get the dialogue going, something I think is important within philosophy and theory for us visual artists. Book:

Thanks for listening.
Podcast number 74. I’M BACK! VISUAL METAPHOR.
If you wish to hear more cool, exciting and hopefully inspiring stuff about art history, art, and visual metaphor come back for more. Also, I, Dr Mark Staff Brandl, artist and art historian, am available for live custom Performance-Lectures. In English und auf Deutsch, with Painting-installations!

You can find or contact me at (spell)
book me at (spell)
or find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, all as Dr Great Art.