My thesis began to coalesce in the Spring of 1994 when I stretched my first triptych based on the golden mean and produced my first large landscape (Figure 1). I decided upon a title for the series, Dusk Informs Our Designs (D.I.O.D.), that functioned on several levels: as dusk is a period of shifting light, it is a time which informs through shadows and filtered light our manifest designs (patterns or motifs); simultaneously, it is a time which can obscure the clarity of imposed structures and divisions, thus informing the often less obvious nature of our designs (intentions or schemes); finally, as a pun, Dusk In Forms Our Designs, it provides a self-conscious nod to the difficulties of successfully approximating any experience or philosophical stance in a plastic medium. My focus on landscape emerged while living in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, where because of my urban surroundings my mind turned to the memories of more open spaces: my childhood spent in Massachusetts - a backyard bordering a pine forest; in Virginia - many weekend trips into the Blue Ridge Mountains; and in Kentucky - time spent on friends farms and horse farms. Collectively, these are both the more charming and most important reasons for my imagery; in their charm, they are beyond the scope of this paper, and in their primacy, they are too immense and personal for exposition. Rather I want to discuss my process, my specific "ritual of painting" which involves not only the act of painting itself but my reading and reflection on the significance of this act. I will begin and end by discussing the work itself, seven large triptychs and as many works on paper. First will come a description of format, scale and thematic intent, then a discussion of the importance of these three aspects in relation to readings and my own thoughts regarding the act of painting in its broader social context. Returning to the works, I will seek to expose my artistic influences both in terms of imagery and style as well as philosophy and content. In the same vein, I will then open the door to the critics and aesthetes in order to place myself in some kind of art historical context. Finally, I will review my work as it is informed by all of these influences and conversations, whether internal or external, whether in relation to a grand vision or to my interest in a particular spot of green against a peculiar grayish rose.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Landscape painting--Technique; Painting--Themes, motives
Department, Program, or Center
School of Art (CIAS)
Fowler, Allen Vaughan, "The Ritual of painting" (1995). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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