Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2017

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



In my work, I look for ways to visualize and document the degenerative mental disease of Parkinson’s and transform it into portrayals of the disease itself, its effects, and those it afflicts. Being a physical breakdown of the body, both popular culture and my own corporal understanding influence my interpretation and representation. This document outlines those influences and their buildup towards a shared understanding of the interests behind the work, as well as implies what the work does through these contexts.

How do we give identity to a disease that is difficult to diagnose or view on medical technology, currently cannot be cured or put in remission, and slowly changes the identity of the patient? We give identity to one track beings like viruses, saying we’re fighting a cold, as well as to diseases that are not a foreign body, but a part of the self, like cancer. While initially regarded as an other by the patient, many eventually come to terms with the fact that it is exactly the opposite: that a disease like cancer is a part of the self. Yet viruses and cancer are known entities, and while cancer is a disease of the self, it is one that has the possibility to be put in remission with proper treatment.

In depicting the uncontrollable symptoms (tremors, stiffness, depression, mania, etc.) and through attempting its visualization in the abstract, these imprinted marks, combined with a societal understanding of disease and the body, shows the various ways in which I view this chronological breakdown of the mind and body.


English (en)

Program Director

Patricia Olynyk

Program Director's Department

Graduate School of Art

Thesis Advisor

Monika Weiss

Committee Member

Heather Bennett

Committee Member

Heather Bennett

Committee Member

Andrea Stanislov

Artist's Statement

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