Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Painting

First Advisor

Craig Taylor

Abstract

I work serially, using autobiography as a jumping-off point for satire, humiliation, and explorations of the grotesque. My paintings tackle a variety of topics, including religious and cultish indoctrination, the use of technology and its effect on societal discourse, and stereotypical notions of masculinity that find their way into every subject I explore. Using my personal experiences as a foundation, my paintings have questioned archetypes found within these themes, all the while challenging my own values and beliefs. I position myself as an anti-proselytizer, complicating the easy answer and presenting morally questionable individuals with the intent of causing contradictory interpretations by the viewer. Navigating this discomfort is vital when searching for a greater truth.

My recent body of work has been a meditation on my challenging upbringing. I am currently focused on constructing paintings of "father figures:" semiotic stand-ins constructed from found, manipulated, and appropriated images, compiled into a flimsy, unsteady mass. The images used are derived from memory, stereotypical representations of masculinity, video games and technology, and airbrush vernacular. This assortment of signs is airbrushed thinly upon a textural, archetypal male silhouette, as if projected upon a man made of clay. I view this treatment as decorative and yearning: a vain attempt at creating a stand-in for an absent mentor, a monument to short-lived experience with a degenerate father, and the confusion of longing for something that you've never known. The pieces don't quite fit, but there is a desire for cohesion.

Satire is a pillar of my work, as well as empathy for the satirized. Like Bosch or Goya, I strive for a sardonic attitude cast onto the individuals and collectives that I am criticizing-but also an understanding of their humanity and a desire to evoke sympathy from a viewer. A good satirist can see things from all angles without affiliation. Nothing is sacred enough to escape contemplation, however brutal the ridicule.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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