Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Author Department/Program

Graduate School of Art

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art

Degree Type



This thesis explores the influences and content of the visual artist Ming Ying Hong and in particular, examines her drawings created during her Master of Fine Arts degree program at Washington University in St. Louis. In theorizing about the practice of drawing, this document investigates the instability in meaning found in both her motifs of explosions and wounds, placing her research in larger philosophical context regarding the transformative potential of Giles Deleuze’s “becoming” and George Batailles’s “continuity.” Ultimately, the intersection of these two terms is exemplified in the in the paradoxical conflation of binaries, upsetting clear categorization and suspending concise meaning. As a result of these fluid boundaries, there is an inability to delineate abstraction from representation, calm from violence, and presence from absence. Furthermore, this document examines the practice of drawing as a means of obtaining an embodied state of becoming and continuity, enabling a sense of cohesiveness between self and world.


English (en)

Program Director

Patricia Olynyk

Program Director's Department

Graduate School of Art

Committee Member

Jessica Baran

Committee Member

Jessica Baran

Committee Member

Jan Tumlir

Artist's Statement

Nothingness, embodied in the blank and the empty, is an arena that anticipates action. Within this space, things both cease to be and are on the cusp of transformation. It is a place of becoming, a term borrowed from French philosopher Giles Delueze to describe a nomadic state of existence, situated between non-meaning and meaning.

My work explores this particular definition of nothingness through process, representation, and affect. Influenced by the aesthetic philosophies of emptiness in Chinese landscape paintings, my drawings of ephemerality (i.e. explosions, altered states of consciousness) visually dissolve into the blankness of the paper, collapsing the razor thin distinction between a static whole and the nearly imperceptible event of dissolution. Such contradictions also exist in the act of drawing. The process is a seemingly endless back and forth between carefully describing the image and attentively observing form, creating a continuous loop that disintegrates the distinction between self and object. I believe that this fluid interchange between the body and the exterior world enables the possibility for individuals to better shape their notions of selfhood.

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