Date of Award
Thank you for taking some time to consider my thesis work. Over the past year, I have been working on these six paintings, beginning with finding the volunteers to sit with me and speak to me about the events, people, places and other personal accounts that have shaped them into the person they are today. From those conversations, I then began researching symbols and images that would help me articulate something essential about those individuals in the static form of painted portrait. In each piece, I tried to use symbols that held multiple meanings: historical, universal and personal to the subject.
As an artist, I feel that it is not only my great privilege to try to express a part of someone’s personal story but my duty to stay as true as possible to how each person expressed themselves to me. In my written thesis, I reflect upon the creative process and how my own artistic agenda and my own impressions of each person play a role in the final piece. I am always interested in the cyclical energy that comes from a subject to an artist, then to someone who experiences the work, then back to the artist and even back to the subject in this case. While examining my own interpretations of my subjects, I also reflect on those who have attempted similar expression using icon and surreal qualities in their paintings. I have referenced these painters who have influenced me in technique and philosophy: Frida Kahlo, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte and Alex Grey.
It is in researching the past forms of expression and the relationships of our present life that we can begin to understand the phenomenon of human interpretation and come to terms with the lives and world around us. I hope that you enjoy your own interaction with these pieces and know that you are essential in completing the work, simply by reading it, seeing it and internalizing it.
Smith, Katherine, "An Exploration of the Inner Life through Portrait" (2013). Senior Theses. 699.