Date of Graduation

Spring 2024


Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies


Art and Design

Committee Chair

Amanda Smith


My thesis work depicts the events of a fictional party. Using oil paint, I create multi-figure works that feature recurring characters, various narratives, complex relationships, and emotions associated with this fictitious evening. Within this painted realm, I portray a more confident, powerful version of myself; an alter ego, who exists alongside these various characters. Drawing inspiration from compositional strategies from Renaissance art history and Christian altarpieces, I paint on large-scale, shaped canvas and paper to suggest doors, windows, and other domestic, interior spaces. Additionally, these shapes allow me to juxtapose suggestions of prominence and divinity with satire, irreverence, and profanity. The narratives, characters, and text that I incorporate are often influenced by real life situations in which I wanted to come across as more self-assured. Ultimately, my work promotes keen social analysis, personal reflection, and confidence; I build a world in which the characters I create, including this second self, exist permanently.


alter-ego, figurative painting, social gathering/party, alternate realm/reality, world-building, character(s), Renaissance art, Christianity, altarpiece

Subject Categories

Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture | Art and Design | Arts and Humanities | Illustration | Painting


© Mara Cressey

Open Access