Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

MFA - Master of Fine Arts


Fine Arts

First Advisor

Deborah Davidson

Second Advisor

Oliver Wasow


The sea may be regarded as a source of tranquility as well as one of unsettling trepidation, ambiguous even in its representation. Those who are called to it must be relentless in the face of uncertainty; what awaits them is the immeasurable sublime. Defined in art as a reference to greatness beyond all possibility of control, the sublime invokes an urge to pursue pleasurable terror in the unmanageable. On heavily trafficked and dangerous seas in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the strict gender hierarchy of authority on board ships in seafaring industries was solidified. Thus, the dominance of the male role in seafaring was established in the Atlantic (Western) world. Using the panorama, a nineteenth century form of mass media as a source, Thalassic transports the viewer to a world that they may never otherwise experience; an environment in which women, as well as men, take to a life of labor at sea. Using motifs of the sublime and invoking the tradition of marine painting, Thalassic integrates the “heroine” into a historically masculine seafaring context, by challenging that context, presenting a woman who is openly combatting nature’s harshest elements and her own innate fears.




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