Title

As Landscape

Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Art & Art History

First Advisor

Alvin Gregorio

Second Advisor

Marina Kassianidou

Third Advisor

Matthew Christie

Fourth Advisor

Franciose Duresse

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Abstract

When I was 19, I found my neighbor’s body on his front lawn after he committed suicide. After passing that landscape for years, I began viewing it differently. Landscapes have become for me places that hold pain, anguish, and blood in spite of their outward pastoral appearance. Yet, beauty has a way of being indifferent; the sun continues to shine. How we construct a narrative around a place defines our relationship with the landscape.

My work is an investigation into the relationship between landscape and memory and time’s effect on the intensity of experience. Like Isca Greenfield’s paintings of beach scenes based on vintage photographs, my work also acts “as a parallel to memory - the original event los[ing] details in each iteration or telling.”As you look from panel to panel, there is a sense of peering out from the passenger seat as you drive by cornfields and small towns at 60 mph. The repetition begs a reconsideration of place and the hidden histories below the surfaces of seemingly mundane landscapes. There is no climax in these paintings. We pass by the site of a suicide and end up right where we started. I have used painting to convey the ineffable relationship between a person and place.

Landscape and painting have been intertwined since the origins of the word “landscape”. In this paper, I address the connections between what the landscape means through lived experience and what it then becomes when it is reproduced into a painting. Our cultural and regional conditioning impact the way we perceive landscapes and ultimately affect our impressions and memory of the place thereafter. Primarily, my work attempts to respond to the paradox that exists between the seemingly simple and everyday places we pass by and the cultural and personal complexities interlaced beneath the surface.

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