Date of Award
Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)
The primary lens by which I deconstruct my work is the absurd and “lucidity” of the absurd as developed by Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus. Camus’ absurd grows out of the tension between human desire for establishing order with the impossibility of doing so in a universe that continually resists our abstractions. The absurd then becomes a means to understanding the criticisms in my work of consumerism, behavior, and spaces which attempt to control or constrict people. I approach my art as an “other” or “outsider” from the system of Protestant moral dichotomy in which I grew up. There are important parallels between my work and Southern Gothic Literature, resulting from my cultural background. Cormac McCarthy, Flannery O’Connor, and Truman Capote are the key authors with whom I ally myself. My use of the absurd, magical realism, and horror tie my work not only to the Southern Gothic, but also to authors such as Michal Ajvaz, who I draw heavily upon for the imagery in my work. However, I turn his absurd towards my own absurdist cultural critique. The use of the absurd for cultural critique and key similarities in style closely tie my work with illustrator Mary Leunig and painter Yun-Fei Ji. My work looking at broader cultural concerns uses similar mechanisms to Yun-Fei Ji in building my critique, while my more self-reflective work connects more clearly with Mary Leunig. With all of these writers and artists the absurd is as important to understanding their work and intentions as it is to understanding mine.
Advisor/Committee Chair's Department
Painting, Visual Arts
Second Advisor's Department
Photography, Visual Arts
Catanese, Andrew T., "Ghosts in the Garden: Cultural Critique through the Lens of the Absurd" (2015). Undergraduate Theses—Unrestricted. 46.