Date of Award

Spring 3-11-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Shaun McNiff

Second Advisor

Vivien Marcow-Speiser

Third Advisor

Barbara McIntyre


This art-based research explores whether — and, if so, how — the process of painting, together with witnessing and reflection on the process and imagery, further an understanding of intimacy. The research also examines the conditions that favor intimacy, the obstacles to intimacy, and the particular features of artistic media, processes and reflection, through the editing of video footage, that can further the intimate experience. The participants in the study were five adults (including the researcher) between the ages of thirty and eighty who were familiar with the creation of visual art. Among them were three women and two men who vary in their socio-cultural characteristics and marital status. The research process included six modes of inquiry as interdependent elements: drawing and painting by the co-researchers in three experimental sessions witnessed by the researcher; reflective discussions with co-researchers; artistic responses by the researcher; a private exhibition; editing of video footage and creation of edited videos; and culminating discussions and review with the participant co-researchers. This study identified two interdependent operational elements within intimacy: commitment to the present moment and looking closely. Specific features of artistic media, processes and reflection through video acted as mediators and furthered intimate experience. These empirical qualities are: (1) persistence and continued immersion, (2) being physically close and zooming in, (3) attention to detail, and (4) sensuousness. Four conditions were found to favor the intimate experience: (1) dedication of time and space, (2) openness to seeing and being seen, (3) an urge to move closer, and (4) curiosity: the desire to question and wonder. It was noted that obstacles to intimacy include (1) mental and physical distractions, (2) the inner judge, and (3) restlessness.


Art-based research of intimacy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



Number of Pages


Compressed - Painting Intimacy - Final Edited Video.mp4 (76636 kB)
The compressed final edited video of the research study - Painting Intimacy

Compressed - Nirit, Edited Video.mp4 (78959 kB)
The compressed edited video of Co-researcher Nirit

Compressed - Ofira, Edited video.mp4 (73796 kB)
The compressed edited video of Co-researcher Ofira

Compressed - Nir, edited video.mp4 (91166 kB)
The compressed edited video of Co-researcher Nir

Compressed - Eran, edited video.mp4 (94708 kB)
The compressed edited video of Co-researcher Eran

Compressed - Michal, edited video - response art.mp4 (101328 kB)
The compressed edited video of researcher Michal for the Response Art




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