Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Fine Arts, Visual Arts



Major Advisor

Dan Scott, M.F.A.


This thesis is in regards to paintings created by Erin Cunningham for the completion of her MFA in Visual Arts at Boise State University in the spring of 2011. She primarily discusses the tenuous connection between photography and memory. Examining ideas developed by Roland Barthes, she set out to prove that while there is a distinct difference between the factual language of photography and the fictive language of memory, that the two have a type of symbiotic relationship. Particularly in regards to familial photography, the paintings she has developed from this concept examine the construction of memoir using images that are unfamiliar within personal memory and how those images are consequently re-authored with the attachment of personal narrative. The artist also examines how a representational quality that is painted similarly to photography can affect the viewer’s conception of the work due to the inherent trust granted to the photographic image.

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