Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2023

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts

Author's Program


Degree Name

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)




In this essay, I explain how my art practice instigates inquiry into uncomfortable subjects such as loneliness and how our limits of perception and cognition prevent us from understanding and connecting fully with our environments. I begin by illustrating how I make such subjects more approachable by exploiting the inherent capacity of art to be both pleasurable and painful: a work's pleasing aesthetic can make one more receptive to its disquieting content. I then describe how eastern philosophy and western art have influenced my practice. I highlight how Buddhist insights into the relationship between calmness, security and clarity have informed my compositions to better enable viewers to contemplate possibly uncomfortable content. And, lastly, I discuss how western artists such as Van Gogh have helped to shape the visual vocabulary I implement to simply communicate complex ideas. The paper as a whole is, accordingly, divided into three sections to ease intake of a rather dense argument. First, in the Exposition, I introduce my ideas. Secondly, in the Development, I more thoroughly explore those ideas using my thesis works and reference material I have compiled. Finally, in the Recapitulation, I briefly restate my thesis, summarize my argument and conclude the essay.

Mentor/Primary Advisor

Cheryl Wassenaar Savage