Term of Award

Spring 2011

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

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


Department of Art

Committee Chair

Patricia Walker

Committee Member 1

Bruce Little

Committee Member 2

Julie McGuire


This thesis paper examines the use of natural forms to metaphorically represent human bonds in my creation of the series of works for my MFA Thesis Exhibition based on interacting relationships between plants. My images focus on parasitic plants, as a metaphor for restrictive and binding aspects of human relationships. Several aspects of my work include psychological influences, my observations of the natural world, my artistic process and my major artistic influences. Chapter I focuses on the formation of my interest in psychology as it relates to entangled personal relationships and the translation of these ideas into my art. Attachment Theory and its founders Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby are investigated, followed by a discussion of parasitic plants in relation to human relationships and their significance to my art. Chapter II explores my artistic influences both conceptually and technically. Connections are made between my work and specific images that have influenced the making of my art. Creative ideas and techniques for using the paint media are discussed in relation to works of art I have researched and have learned from. Artist’s works in discussion include Edvard Munch, Egon Schiele, Matthew Ritchie and Jim Dine. Also, as part of Chapter II, my personal artistic process is explained including the methods developed for both painting and drawing, and my utilization of active processes such as editing and layering. Correlations are revealed between the layering of paint and marks and the layers of hidden emotions found through the use of color, mark making, and composition which highlight how my interest in psychology combines with painting techniques to create the body of work that forms my MFA thesis exhibition.

Research Data and Supplementary Material