Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Painting and Printmaking

First Advisor

Noah Simblist

Second Advisor

Gregory Volk

Third Advisor

Sara Reed


Within my studio practice I have been examining the aesthetics of leisure spaces, the implications of good and bad taste, and what it means to live one’s best life. Considering the history of design motifs and the influence of color upon the human psyche, my thesis exhibition of abstract paintings contains references to patterns, design movements, and modes of artifice that have historically been seen as brazen and tacky. These include nods to the Memphis Design group, faux marble, terrazzo, stucco, and artificial sand. Each has held an important place in the history of designed spaces, and at one time or another they were deeply celebrated before being criticized. I am drawn to the parallels between the surface treatment of furniture and architectural spaces, and the surface of a canvas. My use of materials includes a mixture of high- and lowbrow to reinterpret media such as highly pigmented acrylic paint, natural and artificial sand, volcanic pumice, and hardware store products for DIY home improvement. I use a formal, modernist painting language to elevate the artificial and superficial to the hierarchy associated with the moral underpinnings of modernism. By being entirely serious about the unserious, this work aims to question the value we assign to play and why tastefulness rarely aligns with fun.


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