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Spontaneous Laughter, Laughter Without Reason, Evan Gilbert May 2019

Spontaneous Laughter, Laughter Without Reason, Evan Gilbert

Masters Theses

What is the function of humor in today's society? What is the role of the comedian in increasingly clownish times? How does humor challenge power structures in contemporary life and art? How can painting deploy these methods in an effective manner?

The archetype of the trickster has appeared in myth and literature around the world for many centuries. In all instances it represents the disruptive side of the human imagination, a being that lives outside the rules of conventional behavior who seems to have hidden knowledge or secret understanding of how society truly functions. The archetype of the trickster ...


The Person-Less Portrait, Katelyn Ledford May 2019

The Person-Less Portrait, Katelyn Ledford

Masters Theses

In an age of digital technologies, contemporary portraits look different than their predecessors did. Portraiture does not have to continue to rely only on the idea of physical likeness, even though that is generally how portraiture is conceived. Through our virtual lives, we build new versions of ourselves, gain an abundance of information, and consume technological visuals. These newfound engagements and understandings shape the portraits we build of ourselves and of other groups at large. In my painting practice, portraiture is a way to explore the contemporary landscape around me as a woman and a painter who engages in digital ...


Looking For, Dylan Hurwitz May 2019

Looking For, Dylan Hurwitz

Masters Theses

We live in a time in which toxic masculinity continues to run rampant, and in which sexuality continues to be demonized. When it comes to models of loving and living as a queer person, it often feels that there are two options- the politics of queer sexual liberation, of new conceptions of relationships and intimacy, or homonormative, assimilationist politics.

My work for this thesis explores this range, and aims to work against toxic masculinity and the shaming of sex. I think about the abusive relationships I’ve experienced as connected to larger systems of violence—systems which threaten our sense ...


The Line That Splits, Zahra Jewanjee May 2019

The Line That Splits, Zahra Jewanjee

Masters Theses

The body of work I have created since beginning my MFA has been informed and impacted by my research into various inter-connected subject matters: subcultural spaces, the behaviours of crowds, micro and macro and territories and systems. These have been the philosophical and conceptual rationale of my studio practice. Meditation on these concepts is an important part in the preliminary stages of my process and the praxis of my studio work has been to interpret and implement these ideas. In many ways, this process suggests its own direction. I had no exact endpoint in mind but wanted to be driven ...


Where We Are : Where We Thought We Were Going, Nathan Prebonick May 2019

Where We Are : Where We Thought We Were Going, Nathan Prebonick

Masters Theses

In this thesis I will discuss ideas of place, space and repurposing as they relate to my paintings. By tying these ideas back to specific hometown sites, I will trace the evolution of ideas back to their genesis to provide context for the aesthetics of the work. I reference the texts of Robert Smithson and Tim Cresswell, who wrote about transitive notions of place, as well as David Joselit, who’s “Painting Beside Itself” essay focused on painters concerned with the question of how painting enters a network. I hope to use these texts, in conjunction with personal descriptions of ...


Tightrope Walking On The Red Lines, Arghavan Khosravi Jun 2018

Tightrope Walking On The Red Lines, Arghavan Khosravi

Masters Theses

My work is deeply connected to my own personal experience of the culture and politics of my homeland of Iran. I was born and raised in Iran in a nonreligious family. I experienced the first decade after the 1979 Islamic Revolution as a child. The hardliners had taken power, society suffered tremendous suppression, and Iran was at war with Iraq. My memories are filled with so many occasions in which the dominance of the oppressive regime affected my daily life, from being forced to wear a headscarf in elementary school, to being required to pray and recite the Quran at ...


To See Again, Ada Goldfeld Jun 2018

To See Again, Ada Goldfeld

Masters Theses

Contemporary criticism often describes realist paintings as facsimiles of our world, mimetic copies of a shared reality. Cast as a singular approach to painting that, with practice, any artist may adopt, realism is seen as an easy way out, which has been superseded by more complicated, advanced, and abstract visual languages. It is in this context that describing a painting as “realistic” becomes a backhanded compliment— recognition of acquired skill, but a jab to creativity—and all the more of a slight given the value that contemporary art has placed on de-skilling.

These blanket statements around realism misrepresent the tradition ...


In A Distant Land, Ohad Sarfaty Jun 2018

In A Distant Land, Ohad Sarfaty

Masters Theses

For the past few years I have avidly collected oral histories, family memories and imagery as a way to better understand and contextualize myself, my roots, and my own personal path. My recent paintings reference my first-hand experience as an immigrant, as well as my family's long and complicated history with displacement. The paintings were put together much like a game of telephone, their narratives transmitted through generations, stretched and skewed by family members and friends, rendering them fragmented yet crystallized. In the process of painting, seeing parallels between the past and the present has been frustrating and disturbing ...


Domestic Disorientation, Marisa Adesman Jun 2018

Domestic Disorientation, Marisa Adesman

Masters Theses

At the center of all human life is the idea of ‘home’, and although this notion has persisted across time, the specific ideas and meaning of that word have changed significantly across the millennia. We are now in an unprecedented time of rapid change and social, economic and political upheaval, and from where we stand now, it is important to explore what ‘home’ means to us today, at both the individual and collective level.

The domestic space of the home, and the rooms within, represent a politicized site vis-à-vis gender, and these gender dichotomies are perhaps most prevalent in the ...


Sky Well, Molly Kaderka Jun 2018

Sky Well, Molly Kaderka

Masters Theses

Since the era of Romanticism, landscape painting has fallen into three aesthetic forms of representation: the Pastoral, the Picturesque, and the Sublime. This last form celebrates the awe and fear that arises through human encounters with nature. Many contemporary critics dismiss the Natural Sublime, claiming either that technology has replaced nature as a source of the sublime, or that humankind’s present-day destruction of nature prevents our also standing in awe of it. I disagree with both arguments. To me, humanity’s disruption of Earth’s ecosystems does not impede an individual’s experience of exhilaration witnessing, say, a volcanic ...


Left Hand Stories, Saif Mhaisen Jun 2018

Left Hand Stories, Saif Mhaisen

Masters Theses

I draw people and paint things. Sometimes I paint people and draw things, but mostly I draw people and paint things. I work from life. The process – painting or drawing – is not mediated. That is the primary fact concerning the current work.

I see a mediator as anything forced in between a subject and myself. Following that, the work doesn’t involve Internet searches or photography or printing or projection or tracing or elaborate set ups or still lives or prep drawing or under painting.

The current work is defined by the current context: a graduate school art studio environment ...


Pienso En Ti, Gina Gwen Palacios Jun 2018

Pienso En Ti, Gina Gwen Palacios

Masters Theses

Representation signifies social existence, and the lack of Mexican American representation in media, art and the mainstream American narrative is a clear dismissal of a people and their history. I grew up in South Texas and my world was filled with fields of cotton, an open horizon line, and a mismatch of Mexican and American identities and languages. I have listened to my parents’ stories of picking cotton, being punished for speaking Spanish, having their first names changed and later being forced to drop out of school. As I grew up I realized the rows of cotton we passed daily ...


A Theatrical Life : Negotiating Biracial Identity, Timothy Lai May 2017

A Theatrical Life : Negotiating Biracial Identity, Timothy Lai

Masters Theses

My paintings and drawings use autobiography, fiction, and theatricality to examine biracial-identity formation and the negotiation of different cultural ideologies. The personification of these ideologies in narrative accounts pose questions to which the characters must answer and respond. This leads to humorous, sad, problematic, empowering, and chaotic compositions that become an intimate chronicle of my own endeavor to find those “perfect” answers.

In my practice, painting and drawing are ways to explore a broad range of topics that stem from personal and familial stories. Using allegorical personifications, symbols, and metaphors derived from my family, I see the home as a ...


The Farce Of The Frame, Dominic Musa May 2017

The Farce Of The Frame, Dominic Musa

Masters Theses

Both argument and joke, this series of works offers a critical inspection of the world. Characters trace their steps through the scene of each painting, questioning their place within the appearance of things. The central character is the artist-as-critic. Through this character, with his looming magnifying lens, we are implicated as readers of the faux world—an absurdist play intoxicated with scribbled lines, decorative patterns, and conflated histories—as we embark on a quest for an understanding of human existence. Emptied of any emotional concerns, the characters investigate the world they live in, searching for any indication of hope or ...


Art Loser, Laura Jasek May 2017

Art Loser, Laura Jasek

Masters Theses

In my work, I aim to historicize the mechanics of misogyny. Through appropriation and re- authorship, the work interrogates and exposes the discreet erasure of contemporary gender inequalities and the societal attempt to obscure the historical origins of these inequalities.

My thesis work has been focused on Frederick W. Macmonnies, a predominant beaux-arts sculptor responsible for many early-twentieth-century American fountains and monuments. Many of his sculptures were embroiled in controversy, on grounds ranging from their aesthetic competence to their alleged misogyny. Macmonnies’ staunch academicism ran parallel to the birth of modernism, effectively expelling his name from the contemporary canon of ...


From Florine To Flocking : Observations Of A Painter - Printmaker - Embellisher, Elizabeth King May 2017

From Florine To Flocking : Observations Of A Painter - Printmaker - Embellisher, Elizabeth King

Masters Theses

I am a painter-printmaker-embellisher. The hierarchy of these labels shift to best suit the needs of each piece. Making an image that encourages looking takes precedent over how it is labeled. A quickly read painting is the enemy. I weave together complex passages on the surface to function as a speed bump, to slow down the viewer’s navigation of my paintings. I value color, pattern, and texture above a narrative. Borrowing the palette of Florine Stettheimer and the repetitive touch of Edouard Vuillard, my paintings teeter dangerously between being about the idea of decoration and being decorative. Domesticity, femininity ...


Humor And Allegory, Christopher Goodale May 2017

Humor And Allegory, Christopher Goodale

Masters Theses

This series of works proposes the merging of aesthetic interests that undermine the self-seriousness of the artist and the idea of labor in painting. Painting’s slowing of time can hopefully extinguish the peripheral noise of the outside world and provide space for thought. These paintings propose different ways to help the viewer understand visual depth, narrative, and formal decision-making. The optical depth of red, the spatial depth of glazed paint, and the spiritual depth of the figure can provide multiple meanings and possibilities. Another metaphor for the development of this series of paintings would be one comedian telling a ...


Surface, Object, Space, Susan Doe May 2017

Surface, Object, Space, Susan Doe

Masters Theses

Considered primarily a form of painting, my practice adopts the languages of sculpture and installation to explore abstract constructions of personal and societal hierarchies. In this current body of work, I am crocheting architectural forms that blur the distinctions between surface, object, and space. Whether occupying pictorial space or actual space, simple patterned units coalesce into emergent forms through repetition and accumulation. I am drawn to malleable materials that allow for an indexical registration of the force of my hands and body. Working in a wide range of materials including paper, mylar, fabric, foam, plastic, sheet metal, wire, monofilament, and ...


The Little Girl (Kinda), Hanna Kim May 2017

The Little Girl (Kinda), Hanna Kim

Masters Theses

My work has always been about the personal relationships I've had in the past. It is driven by the

nostalgia of what was, and how it came to be within the present. It is not the act of languishing in a better time or the need to replay a scenario from when life was thought to have been easier. It is replaying the past that makes me chuckle, even if at the time the said event was not so hilarious or amusing. While I am heavily influenced by the psychological workings of the human mind and sociology, I ultimately ...


Remembering Virtual Worlds: Painting And Video Games, Nathaniel M. St. Amour May 2017

Remembering Virtual Worlds: Painting And Video Games, Nathaniel M. St. Amour

Masters Theses

Video games create the feeling of great achievement and place the player into a role that turns them into a great hero. These experiences feel significant because they require great time and emotional investment. The monumentality of these experiences, however, are at odds with the transience of the electrical virtual worlds. The medium of oil painting helps overcome the sense of transience because of oil painting’s durable permanent way of image making and stillness. Painting’s inherent nod to history also creates a dissonance between the newness of the video game medium and the antiquity of painting, a contrast ...


Interior Mountains & Distant Clouds, Ping Zheng May 2016

Interior Mountains & Distant Clouds, Ping Zheng

Masters Theses

Painting allows infinite scope for imaginative freedom beyond the ambiguity of the inner landscape. Painting connects the natural world outside to the inner natural world, allowing me to exist in the present while also reconciling childhood meanings. It brings me alive, allowing me to find a new identity. No longer trapped within the repressive structures of family, rigid schooling, and culture, the language of sky, land, mountain, and water become living metaphors of limitless possibilities with forms and color. My paintings are abstract, but they also present me as a character, independent and emerging from the environment. The work explores ...


Summoning The Body That Acts, Brendan M. Mccauley Jan 2016

Summoning The Body That Acts, Brendan M. Mccauley

Masters Theses

Seven series of artworks; painted, drawn and performed. These works are presented as affective incorporation exercises, that test modes of aesthetic communication in response to varying political contingencies. The constitutive processes used to develop the work also function as a methodology for my own political radicalization. As an artist I am wagering how to talk, as an activist I am preparing to act. The artworks discussed occur at the crossroads of these desires as enactions of futurity within the subjunctive mood.


Hovering, Benjamin J. Blatt Jan 2016

Hovering, Benjamin J. Blatt

Masters Theses

Hovering is an attempt to navigate the contemporary digital environment through traditional means. The imagery created function as paintings, photographs, prints, and drawings. They explore and raise questions about visual perception and sensory awareness, as well as highlighting the modular limitations of the pixelated image and the illusion of reality in the digital landscape.


Make Every Day Count: Longing, Vision, & Painting, Sarah R. Pater May 2015

Make Every Day Count: Longing, Vision, & Painting, Sarah R. Pater

Masters Theses

Images are non-verbal holders of narrative and meaning in Western culture. Historically, painting served this function—a job that we now generally give to digital photography and cinema. One task for contemporary painting, then, might simply be as a self-reflective metaphor for the experience of vision that is mostly lost in photographic technologies: seeing as looking plus touching. Paintings are simultaneously objects and images—corporeal material constructions and visceral illusionary fields. Given the current state of rapid image production, consumption, and instrumentalization, painting’s insistence on singularity and a more ‘composed gaze’—one that asks the viewer to re-read—stands ...


A Step Of Two Or The Pas De Deux, Molly A. Hoisington Jan 2015

A Step Of Two Or The Pas De Deux, Molly A. Hoisington

Masters Theses

The second part of a two-part MFA Thesis presentation, this paper distills the content from the preceding exhibition A Step of Two or The Pas de Deux: an installation of paintings, drawings and projected video. It touches on various themes that surround [well researched] ideas about perception, dissociation, the gaze, and relationships. Most of all, this paper and the body of work it describes is about the visual representation of a sensual understanding of the world.


Tried It With Glasses Off Too; Sometimes., Nolan John Fedorow May 2014

Tried It With Glasses Off Too; Sometimes., Nolan John Fedorow

Masters Theses

I use a small wedge of wood as a tool to pick out food scraps that find themselves lodged between my teeth. I also use a small wedge of wood as a tool to keep a straight door from swinging freely on a crooked house. The small wedge of wood I stuff in between the floor and door as a tool is a controlling apparatus, much like landowners who use fencing to keep people from walking repeatedly through their land and inadvertently creating a path where they shouldn’t. A wooden door stopper will come to adorn a perpendicular-patterned patina ...


Learning To See, Jade Webber May 2014

Learning To See, Jade Webber

Masters Theses

Learning to See is a written document accompanying the culmination of my three years painting at a graduate level. Through an exploration of line, color, shape, light and bears I traverse the wandering heart of painting. This document is an exploration of the place in which people become bears and bears become mountains.


Where Feet Are As Light As Feathers (A World Of Things), Katie Zickefoose May 2013

Where Feet Are As Light As Feathers (A World Of Things), Katie Zickefoose

Masters Theses

Where feet are as light as feathers (a world of things) is a combination of 2D work including painting, drawing, and prints, in conjunction with a written monograph that supports and gives insight into the work. Through a series of short stories, both fictional and nonfictional, fleeting thoughts, as well as research in critical theory and art history, I make connections between my art, my process, and my own earthly living.