Testimony of touch
Swim, Carrie Leigh
University of Kansas
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Abstract The Testimony of Touch is an MFA thesis of painting displayed in the Art and Design Gallery of University of Kansas. It consists of eight panels that measure eight by thirty–one feet long, hanging horizontally on the gallery wall. It wrestles with the problem of processing grief, healing, and desire and adoration of truth through authentic mark making in the movement of paint combined with performative dance. The method of painting reflects the tangibility of the healing process. I use my body, covered only with paint, to begin the dance in exploration of the vulnerability of the state of grieving. This establishes the composition. Erratic placements of forms are used to reflect the unpredictable rhythm of healing. Traditional methods of mixing oil paint cover raw marks and embrace contemporary image making through ethereal abstract movements of color and stroke. Removal of formulaic marks maintains sincerity. Tones, layered by methods of glazing, create entrance into atmospheric space and into the meaning of forms through its placement and reference to colors of growth and corruption. The spacing between the panels and forms gives pause for the visual journey across the piece. The difficulty of dealing with the size and content of the work gave further tangibility to grief still lingering in an atmosphere of hope. The painting resulted in the honor and investigation of the divine hand in healing found in the earthly realm. Testimonial organic movements of form, ethereal line, and color flowing in and out of space uncover new revelations of grief and healing. Life's truth and mystery revealed in its absence and presence unbridles the dance and the paint to abstract forms. The thesis work celebrates the authentic discovery, the adoration, and the integrity of mark making in the passage of healing. This incites future explorations of paint's potential to break off physical limitations of discovering truths desired by humanity. The rhythm of paint and dance will continue to unfold in forthcoming projects.
- School of the Arts Dissertations and Theses 
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