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Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Painting & Printmaking

First Advisor

Richard Roth


Painting As Becoming: Reflections Between Content and FormThis thesis is the culmination of my two years at graduate school. It lays out some of my ideas about painting as a particular approach to art making. The development of my work has not always followed a linear path – some ideas take longer to emerge, some vices longer to recognize. The text is separated into four main sections: Form, Development, Color, and Landscape. The main issue that I explore is the relationship between abstraction and representation. Tending to be over-logical, I have avoided explicit ‘content' in my work, because I am afraid that it will pin it down. Painting abstractly initially allowed me to exercise the other side of my brain, to avoid ‘meaning'. But abstraction is also a language that can be assimilated and therefore does not really offer an enduring solution to the problem of content.My paintings are usually structured in a logical way: composition, color harmony and dissonance, perspective, light, and space - but my process also leaves room to explore the illogical and the absurd. I began to appropriate representational imagery into the work to weave in additional information – a textual layer to frame and foil the objectivity of oil paint. This juxtaposition puts paint in the role of becoming at the same time that it puts the image in the role of disintegrating. Importantly these roles are interchangeable. The imagery itself is derived from places that have been significant to me by effecting the formation of my scattered sense of identity: my birthplace in Virginia, my upbringing in Lake Tahoe, my studies in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, and my subsequent move out of the country to Mexico, where I lived until returning to Virginia to pursue an MFA. The transitions between abstraction and representation resonate with the intersection of the personal and the collective.Ultimately, the comings and goings of interpretation that characterize my work occur through the lens of beauty. I cannot define beauty, but I maintain the belief that it can be found in painting, and that its primary function is to remind us to see.


Part of Retrospective ETD Collection, restricted to VCU only.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008