Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Legacy Department

Visual Arts


McDonald, Todd

Committee Member

Cross , Sydney

Committee Member

Detrich , David


My oil on wooden panel paintings demonstrate a curiosity and fondness for a traditional subject, the human figure, and utilize a representational vocabulary to examine an interest in current modes of interpersonal interaction. The work has evolved in conjunction with an investigation of contemporary figurative painting with the purpose of translating a traditional genre and subject matter into a present context of remediation and digital social networking. The resulting paintings utilize recurrent art historical themes of the isolated figure and the sublime, and also contribute to a contemporary conversation surrounding painting's relationship to new media and photography in the twenty-first century. In the work, I emphasize a disjunction of conventional figure/ground relationships by disrupting spatial unity, emphasizing chromatic disagreement, and highlighting the disparities between multiple image sources. Thematically, the tensions that exist as a result of these formal discontinuities reflect the complex nature of interacting with people and places in the 21st century, an age when virtual reality often occurs simultaneously with physical reality and interpersonal interactions take place over virtual divides. Further, the work displays a syntactic heterogeneity based on shifts in painted mark making that firmly places it within the discourse of contemporary painting. In support of this body of work, this written thesis document serves to: 1) Illuminate the art historical and cultural factors which inform the work, 2) Explicate the operational tools used to convey my chosen message 3) Examine the function of the paintings relative to an audience. By organizing the document into three chapters, I point to the cultural, historical, and interpersonal connections, disconnections, and reconnections about which the work speaks.

Included in

Fine Arts Commons