Talya (Tali) Johnson Painting Thesis Spring 2020

Community Remains

This project began as an exercise in facing my fears: my fear of not being a good-enough artist, my fear of change, and most of all my fear of abandonment. Painting a series of portraits from life, with self imposed constraints on time and setting seemed like a good place to start. I would practice abandoning portraits after their allotted time, in an exercise of radical acceptance of my current skill level.

After the closure of my school, Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC), my desire for this project changed into a longing to memorialize and thank all who helped shape my once-in-a-lifetime experience in art school. Each portrait would become a gift. As my work progressed, however, it transformed and into something else, far transcending my original intent. Through the process of seeing and hearing my sitter while being seen and heard by them, by inadvertently removing all status visual clues from the residual painting, I found myself creating a visual web of human connectedness that is in a constant state of flux. The portraits would be hung joined together during my thesis exhibition, but would then break apart to emphasize the impermanence of this experience.

My own story is now intermingling and changing through the collapsing boundaries and intimacy inherent to my painting process. I enter a state of liminality by intensely focusing all my senses on capturing the external and internal truth within my subject. This ambiguous psychic space has value, not only for me, but for my subjects as well. Through a mysterious creative process our stories become one—a diverse yet harmonic chorus declaring to the world: We are wounded, imperfect, abandoned, and unfinished, but through us, the hope of our Community Remains.

Evan Kirby General Fine Arts Thesis Spring 2020

Talya (Tali) Johnson Painting Thesis Spring 2020

Katelyn Thompson Painting Thesis Spring 2020

Ben Lynn Painting Thesis Spring 2020

Krystal Barrio Intermedia Thesis Spring 2020