Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Kevin Zucker

Second Advisor

Craig Taylor

Third Advisor

Roger White


The impulse to make work from the residue of real life has been called many things throughout art history. In my thesis, I use some of these methods to discuss generative modes of creating work. I talk about Lucy Lippard’s proposal for a “way of making,” Disidentification, Camp, Appropriation, Termite Art, and Hito Steyerl’s call to create art that addresses the present in imaginative ways. Each process relies on a commitment to being in the world and building something on its uneven ground.

In Liary I discuss the relationship between my drawing practice and fiction writing. Since subjectivity is dependent on one’s experience with gender, class, race, and sexuality, drawing from one’s life cannot create a universal experience or even an accurate portrait of the artist. However, it can create valuable and emotionally resonant fiction. I use Judith Butler’s idea of gender performativity to talk about a conception of selfhood that consists of both an internal view of oneself and the inescapable pressures of one’s environment. In a world where nothing is a given, the only thing that can ever be entirely true about a piece is the feeling that the audience walks away with.

Finally, I talk about how I find content for my paintings and specifically analyze the symbols in my piece, Smoke and Mirrors (2020). I discuss the cognitive dissonances that serve as a starting point for work and ways painting serves as a place to ask philosophical questions about existence.

Included in

Painting Commons



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