Browsing by Subject "paintings (visual works)"
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- ItemAli Shaw Fine Arts Senior Thesis Project(2016) Shaw, AliFor as long as I can remember, whenever I gazed into the mirror I would be overcome with shame. My nose was too big, eyes too small, or gut too large. Surely I must be a monster, for I am far too hideous to be deserving of kindness or love. Feelings like this have haunted me for most of my life. As I grew, I soon learned that I was not alone with these perceptions. I have met so many men and women who harbored unfair anxieties about their appearances; they would judge every pimple as a summary of their being, every roll of fat as an indicator of their inadequacy, and sometimes even hurt themselves just to fit a beauty standard. It soon became clear to me that these experiences are far more destructive than simple desires to be healthier; they are unhealthy obsessions that we have socially constructed to which we have become enslaved. We live in an age dominated by visual media, imposing near-impossible standards of beauty. Despite the universality of physical imperfections, shame continues to be inescapable. Thus we trap ourselves in a vicious cycle of yearning, delusion, and self-loathing. My work is a critique of these impossible beauty standards. By painting the human figure without shying away from visual imperfections, I aim to promote body positivity, showing the beauty of the unaltered figure. My paintings present the figure in a pose that highlights flaws such as wrinkles or a chubby abdomen. Through my work, I strive for the viewer to find the bare humanity of the subject charming, with imperfections exposed. Working on large canvases allows me to bring my figure and portrait paintings up close and personal to the viewer. I hope that the size of the paintings draws the audience in, so that they are unable to look away from the bodily realities from which we would rather hide. To further emphasize this, I planned each of my paintings to compliment the individual insecurities of all my models. Communicating with my models was a critical component to my process. The subjects revealed to me the things that had previously caused them mental anguish. This honest conversation allowed me to compose the figure in a way that emphasizes these discomforts, with the intention of revealing the absurdity of our own harsh judgements.
- ItemBetween the Dawn and Dark of Night(2017) Newman, NatalieI believe in the potential of art and other transcendent experiences to inspire growth in the way we treat each other, and the way we treat the earth. By “transcendent experience,” I mean anything that induces heightened states of awareness, such as making art, meditation, dreams, ecstatic dance, shamanic ritual, entheogenic plants, making Love, and encountering Visionary Art of all mediums. Thus, my intention for my senior thesis is not only to depict these states and encourage others to explore them as well, but to illustrate and inspire the huge potential for growth that we humans, artists and art-observers alike, possess. I have noticed a correlation between this new movement of Visionary Art, spearheaded by painters like Alex and Allyson Grey, Amanda Sage, and Noa Knafo, and twentieth-century Surrealist painters, such as Dali, Ernst, and even Kahlo. Their Surrealist scenes, from Dali’s “Landscape with Butterflies” to Kahlo’s self-portraits, are hauntingly real, though stylized, and yet they depict landscapes and beings that cannot possibly exist on this plane of reality. They seek to find truth, to put value, in the imagination. Works like Ernst’s “Attirement of the Bride” achieve a characteristic eerie quality through biting social commentary. Where these Surrealists use fantastical metaphor as a vehicle to expose the absurd, I wish to emulate the Visionary Artists, like Grey and Sage, by using vivid colors and fantastical figures to portray the possibility of transformation at a time when transformation on a global scale is utterly necessary. As a teenager, I undertook an art project exploring meditation in various aspects of life, from the religious to the mundane. I used oil and acrylic paints to depict people performing activities that can be “meditative.” Yet in that process, I realized that meditation can be found in almost all action. This is simultaneously the practice and the goal. Now, for my undergraduate thesis, I want to develop a visual language in oil paints to express what meditative or visionary states feel like. I play with bright colors and organic shapes to create my own worlds—a sort of magical realism inspired by physical experience as much as imagination. When I include figures in my work, I aim to portray them in an empowering way, rather than objectifying. I paint bodies in poses that show strength and focus and transformation, with a bold use of light and color to bolster these qualities. Ultimately, I am learning to unite the creative process itself with my meditative practice, and my paintings are the result of that experience.
- ItemClaudia Keep Fine Arts Senior Thesis Project(2015) Keep, ClaudiaMy work examines the liminal space occupied by young people and the effects of that space upon identity and self-representation. In my larger-than-life portrait paintings, I use realism and controlled fiction in an attempt to capture a truth that is not always literal. Working from life and my own photos, all elements of my paintings are “real,” but their combination, and existence together, on one canvas, is symbolic, creating a disjuncture and tension that adds a psychological dimension to my paintings. Inspired by post-modern social theory, medieval tapestries, and social media, I seek to create portraits and figure paintings that contain classical elements—like a denim jacket, T-shirt, or pink hair—that will be true or appealing, but also representative of the current time. The subjects in my paintings are at an age of possibility but also of uncertainty, even of fear, caught between innocence and adulthood, fixed identity and instability. The larger-than-life (heroic) scale creates importance and engages the viewer. It dignifies the subjects and gives credence to their struggles and fears. The subject of each portrait becomes someone rather than a picture of something. What could be illustrative on a small scale takes on a new urgency and gravity on a large scale. Repetition of plants and trees, with their history of symbolizing both the dangerous and the benevolent forces of nature, enhances the feeling of unease and contradiction. It is unclear whether the subjects, framed by flowers, branches, and leaves, are at home in a lush garden or lost in a chartless forest. As in many medieval tapestries, the combination of plants and flowers I have chosen do not represent real places but rather are contrived composites based upon bouquets I have made, trees on my college campus, and gardens I have visited. Many of the artists, I admire infuse their work with subtle humor. Medieval tapestries are full of hidden meaning: the bleeding wounds on the flank of a chained unicorn prove, on closer inspection, to be the juice of ripe pomegranates dripping from the branches above. Through composition control, brushwork variation, and color I also hope to capture humor, playfulness, and a certain sense of the surreal that characterizes real life today. I have chosen to display the small paintings, painted from life and personal photographs, which serve as studies to inform my larger works. Painting them allows me to work out technical problems such as composition, color, and brushwork. Working from imagination is hard, but these paintings provide a resource, based in life that I can look to; learned techniques and rhythms carry through painting; the light hitting bushes outside a science buildings helps me to create a pattern of light in the imagined worlds of my larger portraits. In the small paintings I hope to capture the exceptional within a simple, seemingly ordinary moment.
- ItemExhibition of Dissonance and Daybreak(2021) Bruton, Ainsley; Li, YingIn my thesis body of work I attempt to visualize gender as a source of trauma within the body. The painting Dissonance and Daybreak seeks to represent that impact upon the body and the disidentified self created by a dysphoric relationship to embodiment.
- ItemExhibition of Straw Pyramid and Still Lifes(2015) Etzkorn, AlexisThrough dialogue across the mediums of painting and sculpture, I explore art making as the cultivation of an intimate relationship between artist and subject. The still life paintings develop this relationship through my careful noticing and appreciation of seemingly mundane objects. The shirt strewn across the table. The rotting pumpkin sitting on the street’s edge, awaiting its impending disposal. The chair I walk past everyday, most often unoccupied. These objects are usually just objects; however, through the act of observation and the laborious process of painting, I develop affection for their fine details. Within each simple object, an infinite number of compositions vie for my attention. Strange shapes of vibrant color burst at their seams and breathtaking forms reveal themselves. My role as a painter is to devote myself to these subjects, to study them so closely that these small, luminous details, ordinarily unnoticed, become bold, vibrant, and alive. My role as sculptor takes on this task in an immediate, direct way. While my paintings create an intimacy with the subjects through their translation into an image, Straw Pyramid fosters this relationship through direct, immediate contact with the subject—the neon, plastic drinking straw. The sculpture has been a constant exploration of how the humble straw can be transformed in a way that brings out its essential qualities. A painterly expression highlights the bold, neon colors; wire wrapping accentuates the ridges and bends; and the construction of a systematic pyramidal structure demonstrates a potential for perfect geometry. These modes of expression and construction evoke the warmth of a human presence, a physical connection between structure and artist, that stands in contrast to cold, geometric, Minimalist forms crafted by machines. This warmth also extends an invitation to the viewer: the whimsical straws exude a fun and friendly vibration that attract the eye from afar and encourage the viewer to get to know them, to examine the same details and qualities of the straw I explored through my process of art making. This body of work serves to disrupt the viewer’s perception of the mundane, so that they might reconsider and appreciate its details—the beauty and ornament of their own living room chairs, the garbage they are leaving at their curbside, or perhaps even the vibrantly colored, smooth, plastic straw swirling around in their smoothie.
- ItemIn Translation(2017) Nguyen, ChauI paint messy. I paint when I am tired, agitated, relaxed, miserable, in despair. I paint utterly unprepared. The only things governing my brushstrokes, then, are fragments of my memory and the canvas before me. I paint to get out of myself. My identity consumes and voids itself. My desire to crawl out of my body led me on this journey, where colors become life force; shapes, meaning; and the canvas, the world. I am my art and it is I: I want to be more; to paint over my private trauma, diluting the roots laden with hatred and pain in dreamy clouds and vast ocean. I let go. Images stream out, sometimes with the pounding of a waterfall, others dripping down the canvas in a mixture of oil, paint, and Turpenoid. The act of painting becomes fights, drugs, anesthesia. I only feel safe then, in a bond with the world as real as the magnitude of my canvases. Words come out, too, cascading through the cracks of my mind. They hurt, like my mom’s occasional texts from another continent telling me to get enough sleep, my writings about visual arts only intelligible in my second language (but not my first), or my subliminal fear of splattering Vietnamese words onto my art. Tôi vẫn là người Việt. I-am-Viet-nam-ese. I pick up words again, like a child. I start stitching canvases, with Mom’s threads—untouched and hastily packed in my luggage the first time I came to the United States—with a needle from Andrea, a professor whose presence gave me life during my last Scandinavia winter. I write in scrabbly Vietnamese letters the elegiacs of my memories—of displacement, love, loss, and the world. In my endless stitching of images and texts, I seek to reconcile my past and my present. It is painful, liberating, rough, and messy. It is a work in translation.
- ItemKelsey Power Fine Arts Senior Thesis Project(2012) Power, Kelsey; Kim, Hee SookI recognize a certain irony in illustration as an art form because its existence and inspiration are predicated on the written word. Though I believe art points to beauty and must stand on its own, my work strives to analyze the nature of illustration. Illustration is a play between words and pictures— two art forms—that creates a harmony enhancing the experience of both. Through a visual dialect Art directs us to a re-evaluation of self, creating that ineffable sense of something, anything, everything lacking in the human experience. It reminds us that perfection is a possibility, but that it is not something that has yet been achieved. That ache is why I create art. Beauty shows us ourselves better than anything else. Beauty allows us acceptance. We accept that we will not experience perfection, but the aching and longing for it is worthwhile as well. I was inspired by my reading of Cornish ghost tales and my love of maritime history to tell a story that spoke of my experience as well as displayed it. I chose to allow my artwork to inhabit space outside the confines of a bound book and interact with the reader on a larger and broader scale. I wished to make the world of the story real. My art always strives to connect to the past, and thus utilizes traditional methods and materials to take the viewer into a physical space that invokes that atmosphere. By combining the experience of the reader and the viewer, illustration places both pictures and words in a context that allows for a stronger, more emotional interaction. The scale of my pieces transgresses on the space of the reader to allow them greater access and entrance into the story itself.
- ItemKerry FitzPatrick Fine Arts Senior Thesis Project(2013) FitzPatrick, Kerry; Li, YingUsing a language that has been heavily conditioned by the overwhelming visual stimuli characteristic of modern technology, I attempt to reinterpret iconography and mythology that has become somewhat trite and perhaps even irrelevant. These images have been appropriated to the point where they are readily recognizable yet banal enough to be easily overlooked in passing. In these paintings the symbols I re-imagine are distorted so that they lose some of this familiarity, but still may convey a sense of the uncanny—of something simultaneously comforting yet alienating. Where the different symbolic worlds overlap is where this uncertainty can be uncovered. The entanglement of these different images seems natural and harmless yet upon further reflection can become sinister and mysterious. It is my hope that the seemingly impenetrable meaninglessness of cliché can in this work be reevaluated to reveal something of the mysterious origins that gave rise to it in the first place.
- ItemRhianna Shaheen Fine Arts Senior Thesis Project(2014) Shaheen, Rhianna; Li, YingVisual storytelling composes stories through the sequencing of images. Motion pictures do this especially well. In the storyboarding process, movies are first conceived as several juxtaposed hand-drawn images. Although the end result is seemingly a reality flickering before our eyes, film is really just a series of still images. Yet, these images have the power to leave a lasting impression on us as viewers. From childhood to adulthood our relationship to the movies is one of constant influence in which each story has the power to shape our perception of the world. Images of women have left the greatest impact on me. Dorothy Gale, Matilda Wormwood, and Clarice Starling were among my favorite heroines. They were accessible characters who had their own adventures and embodied the hero I wanted to be. At a young age, their representation instilled within me a sense of possibility and identity. Storytelling holds great potential for envisioning these new narratives and empowering women. Images have the power to inspire and to reshape ideological frameworks. I use the vocabulary of visual storytelling to such ends in my own body of work as I explore the hero’s journey of a young runaway girl in the rural Midwest. Canvas and prints of various sizes serve as my storyboard to explore the pattern of the hero’s journey with a character and story of my own creation. Each painting acts as a snapshot of a moment in her journey. Placed in sequential order, they have a call and response interaction. Although titles are important to its meaning, my work does not collectively rely on text for its power and effect. I channel many of my dreams, fears, and longings into these images. It is a means for me to share and process many of my own youthful experiences, which I hope will resonate with others and create a self-reflective space. I want my work to provide viewers with a lens through which to understand, relate, engage and see.
- ItemSharon Li Fine Arts Senior Thesis Project(2014) Li, SharonWhat happens after hours, when work is done and day folds into night? For my thesis I looked at the nightlife subculture of my hometown Shanghai, and the dramas cultivated in its closed environments. These paintings are interpretations rather than representations of my memories. They offer glimpses into my experiences with Shanghai’s nightlife subculture by recreating its moods and energies. They visualize and express the erratic moods and atmospheres, and the haywire devolution of individuals in nightlife environments. I use an expressionistic style, employing brushwork, colors, and surface textures to evoke the emotions and atmospheres I have encountered. Using photographs collected over the years for reference, I depict different characters through phases of a “night out.” Smaller still lifes depict details, such as the food people eat both in and outside of the nightlife venues. Larger-scale works overwhelm and distance the viewer, much as I remember being overwhelmed and alienated in the midst of a loud, overpowering, almost demonic nightlife crowd. Distorted perspectives disorient the viewer with a nonsensical world in which people do not always get what they deserve, and may even end up with a bloody nose. If the image does not make sense, it is because nightlife does not make sense, and at that moment, life itself does not seem to make sense. My examination of Shanghai nightlife, then, becomes a means for exploring the illogic of life itself. Like nightlife, life is unpredictable and filled with diverse characters who are potentially violent and corrupt. The irrationality of nightlife, and its echoes in real life, are all part of my own Shanghai nightlife story.
- ItemSiyang You Fine Arts Senior Thesis Project(2015) You, SiyangMy affection and connection with architecture have developed over many years. I have liked to build things since I was very young. When coming to painting, my focus falls naturally into the expression of architecture—specifically cityscapes and street views. I am constantly drawn to depict the old industrial sense of a city. I feel for the decaying walls, once colorful yet now peeling. Buildings’ ability to create space around people also amazes me; the coexistence of architecture and human beings further intrigues me. I see a harmony between man-made structures and their creators. My work is about freedom of expression. My paintings can be moody, with heavy textures and dark colors. I paint wet on wet paint to create an intermingling of colors and textures. Seldom do I mix colors evenly on my palette before I apply them onto the canvas. Instead, a lot of the time I use knives and towels that can achieve unexpected patterns and color mixtures. I intend my shapes and colors to evoke and record ideas and moods. Being able to experience the dynamics of painting is what moves me. I enjoy being able to freely express myself with frank and undisguised strokes. I always create my work with playfulness—not with purpose. During those times when I am enjoying the process as if on an adventure; I lose my sense of time and can’t sleep because all the ideas and imagining spinning in my head. I most often make my best work at these times. I do not intentionally make my work so that I can put up an exhibition, nor do I vulgarly try to make works special, nor abruptly foist an idea onto my works. Instead, I draw and paint those things that touch my heart; nothing else seems important. Art is a manifestation of personality, and my work essentially resembles my inner self, and my vision of the world.
- ItemTracing Body and Gesture of Dance(2014) Aguais, CamilaMy moving body is the driving force of my painting and drawing. In my work, I seek to render dance by leaving a trace of my movement on the ground and constructing visual representations of movement. I read my work as maps of my own movement improvisation and dance instincts. They are maps of changes in quality of movement, position of the body, and direction in the dance. A different kind of movement or motion demands a different kind of gesture or representation on the surface of the canvas or paper. My work incorporates a wide array of methods and approaches to show different aspects of movement that are significant to me as a dancer. I use charcoal and acrylic paint on canvas and paper to combine both drawing and painting into one work. I sometimes focus more on the abstract motion of dance by painting in a more fleeting and dynamic way, and sometimes I focus more on negative space and shapes to explore composition. In whatever way my paintings and drawings emphasize a certain aspect of the dance, all remains open, gestural, and ambiguous. The surface of the painting or drawing becomes a kind of collage that illustrates elements of the dance: many small movements or larger gestures, a fragment of the body or the outline of an entire figure. These paintings and drawings serve as a broad view of parts of the body and of the gestures that create the movements in dance.