Date of Award


Document Type

Senior Scholars Paper (Colby Access Only)


Colby College. Art Dept.


Harriett Matthews

Second Advisor

Frederick Lynch

Third Advisor

Michael Marlais


I had structured this project on the foundation of repetition in art as a tool toward a greater understanding of subject matter. Beginning with three objects: a pair of binoculars, a mason jar and a pitchfork head, I intended to render them over and over until the process brought me to a new relationship with the objects and with myself as a student artist. However, working intimately with these objects fostered a curiosity in different methods of drawing and painting that would take me in an exciting and unforeseen direction. The resolution of this project is now titled, "At the Wall: A Study in Drawing and Painting." I began with a simple interest in form and the issue of how to address the surrounding space. Not wanting to set up still lifes for fear that the emphasis would be placed on the composition rather than the form itself, I attempted several different arrangements, working with close ups, blow ups, and the isolated objects on pedestals. What occurred to me through these studies was the importance of the surrounding space in informing the composition. I began experimenting solely in the medium of charcoal on paper and shrank the scale of the format, to a quarter of the original size. This latter change created a space that was more manageable, easier to consider, and introduced an new intimacy to the work. From there I developed a niche or shrine like composition, working my objects into it. This change in format caused a change in the objects themselves. No longer did I limit myself to three stock forms, but instead I created my own subject matter. I worked a great deal with imagined rope, then, turning to actual still lifes, I did a series of rope drawings which would inspire my first painting. The format and size of my series of spring paintings took all fall semester to establish. As in drawing, I explored various techniques and sizes before I started my first 56" by 52" paintings. I was drawn to this format because of the size and the slightly off-square dimensions. The first of these paintings began as a large still life containing a table and two of the three original objects. Dissatisfied with the lack of personal immediacy of this arrangement, I turned my attention in a new direction, the "At the Wall" series. "At the Wall" is a series of paintings of semi-representational wall surfaces featuring objects isolated within niches. Inspired by the series of rope drawings, the first painting was two lengths of intertwined rope contained within a niche and juxtaposed with a large area of compositional ground. An area of focus and a primary obstacle with these paintings was the reconciliations of the small niche format with the expanse of canvas that was to be wall space. Issues of balance, representational and non-representational form, division of space and paint surface were also principal. I sought to resolve these issues methodically, to illuminate a visible evolution of technique and vocabulary in the series of work.


drawing, painting, art


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