Date of Award

Summer 8-2022

Document Type



College of Visual and Performing Arts

Degree Program

Fine Arts

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

Thesis Advisor

Seth Rouser

Committee Member

Alice Burmeister

Committee Member

Myles Calvert


The line as symbolism, Fine arts, Patricia Schmoutz

Committee Member

Michelle Livek


When walking throughout a cemetery, you may notice the small dash on a tombstone between the year of someone’s birth and their death. Have you ever given thought as to how a tiny line can represent so much? Even a small mark, such as the dash, can represent volumes in the entirety of a person’s life and the imprint they leave on those around them. In my work, I use various types of line as symbols associated with representations of life. I am most interested in lines as visual representation of physical and psychological wounds, both newly created and those that are in the process of healing. At the same time, I also explore how to symbolically suggest the notion of healing these wounds. This can come about through the physical application of additional layers of paint or other applied textures, the manipulation of a painting’s surface, or the incorporation of additional visual forms in the composition that may alter the visual perception of lines represented in the work. The visual qualities found in my work therefore suggest the line as a record of profound experience, and also something that can be manipulated or altered to suggest a new perspective or interpretation of the line’s meaning. The aim of my work is thus to suggest both a visual and symbolic perception of the loss and pain represented by linear-shaped wounds, as well as a visual resolution or healing of that wound, through a variety of paint application styles and manipulation of painted surfaces where lines appear. My hope is that through these varied representations of line, which all culminate in my paintings as the imprints we leave and marks we make, that one may contemplate their mark. Each of the marks and imprints we make matter.