Erica Peebus BFA Thesis Fall 2012

Most people think that signs are universally comprehensible, however, I disagree. My thesis project explores the complex relationship between form, content and interpretation, arguing that every sign contains numerous, ambiguous meanings. The interpretations we arrive at are dependent not only upon the context in which signs are placed but also upon a multitude of cultural and social constructs that subconsciously influence the viewer’s perspective of an image.
These four acrylic paintings, which constitute my thesis project, are vehicles in my search for meaning in a world of many confusing and relative truths. Using the style of a contemporary surrealist, I challenge the viewer to look closer, harder and to question the charged imagery and unfamiliar mixtures they find in the images on the canvas. Intensive study in semiotics, surrealism and archetypal imagery has led me to conclude that the imagery in my paintings is contingent upon a variety of interpretations. This thesis paper parallels these ideas of transmutable meaning while exploring what cultural and social conventions contribute to our individual perceptions of a painting.

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Fall 2012