Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Fine Arts, Visual Arts



Major Advisor

Laurie Blakeslee, M.F.A.


Stephanie Bacon, M.F.A.


Craig Peariso, Ph.D.


The difficulty of representing intangible religious ideas is at the core of Awful/Awful: An Archive of Light Embarrassments. Through an interest in how light is discussed in the Bible as a symbol for God and his fellowship, I make imagery that both repulses me and intrigues me but never do I get to the point where I feel the work encapsulates any answers. Instead, the photographs are questions, archived, unable to represent this light of God on their own without being trite or obtuse. The arranged work on the walls consists of these photographs plus a few ephemera from my religious life that help put into context the photos' allegorical tendencies. Through the exhibition, I hope to communicate both a revulsion for pretense and a longing for representations of an authentic faith.

This thesis discusses the frustrations I have towards the way I see and have seen religion performed in my life of involvement with the Christian church, how that affects a believer similar to how kitsch affects culture, why I find this sort of work about beauty and such to be embarrassing, and how longing emerges as a common theme throughout the entire work. Through different types of Christian texts, art criticism, and contemporary artist references, I frame my work within the greater contemporary art discussion about spirituality, light, beauty, and display techniques.