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Life and death have long been the focus and inspiration for artists, composers, and philosophers. To live and die is the inevitable condition for all sentient beings. Life is largely celebrated, praised and is generally associated with joy, beauty, and virtue. Death, on the other hand, evokes horror, anguish, and despair. Death is feared and reviled by much of humanity. However, what if the dichotomy between life and death is not as unambiguous as people thought it to be? Why is the alternative term for “Death” called “Afterlife”? People glorify life whilst they demonize death. They usually fail to realize, that life and death are merely two inseparable faces of the same coin: they are indeed mutually exclusive, but neither could exist without another. The paintings that constitute my thesis exhibition Bellus Mortis strive to scrutinize the complex nature of life and death and to sift through divergent aspects of death. In my imagery, I have consciously chosen to explore theatrical depictions of various esoteric cultural practices associated with dying. I am also interested in investigating the chronological pictorial representations of Eastern philosophical perspectives of death. Utilizing cryptic and allegorical visual language, I attempt to represent death in a personal and neutral manner that is free from predetermined negativities, prejudice, and stereotypes. My artistic goal is to blur the boundary between the two and to visualize the unappreciated beauty, and tranquility of death. Additionally, my art is intended to demonstrate that life is not always the sublime gift brimming with ethereal delight that people choose to believe in unquestioningly. Ignore its flaws, an endless life will simply become an eternal torment.
DegreeMaster of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
DepartmentArt and Art History
SupervisorGraham, John David
CommitteeGlenn, Allyson; Nowlin, Tim; Klaassen, Frank
Copyright DateSeptember 2018