Mysterious Elements: A Studio Art Thesis




Wyns, Vanessa

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The enigmatic nature of Gerhard Richter’s black and white photorealist paintings with their blurred atmospheres is what originally inspired this project. The blur of the woman’s face in his piece Woman Descending a Staircase provoked a psychological and sociological investigation that informed the first phase of my paintings. Referencing modern photographer Luca Desienna’s blurred photographs, I created figurative paintings in which I erase features of the subjects as well as details of their surroundings with exaggerated blurs. Desienna uses the blur to hide disfigured faces, decaying walls, and general squalor: not because he finds them unsightly, but because he wants to draw attention to the humanity of his subjects rather than the conditions in which they live. The second phase of my paintings moved away from Desienna’s images and their psychological implications to abstract compositions with a distinct set of challenges. The paintings of this phase are made with acrylic paint and oil-based wood stain which repel one another to create textural patterns resembling topological ridges.