Arid Visions

Date of Award


Degree Type

Creative Project

Streaming Media

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Art and Design

Committee Chair(s)

Stephen Shepherd


Stephen Shepherd


Jerome Murphy


Ryoichi Suzuki


Kathy Puzey


“The vibration of this light, the spaciousness of these skies enthralled me. I knew there was a spirit in nature as in everything else, but here in the desert it was an especially bright light.”

-Agnes Lawrence Pelton

Arid Visions is inspired by my experiences exploring the deserts of southern Utah. The desert landscape is a bounty of diverse flora that appear alien-like. My work celebrates these plants, honoring them for more than what they are sometimes perceived to be. The desert can be an unforgiving place… where an agave’s mesmerizing layered leaves lure you in, but get too close and they may harm you.

Desert plants are seemingly unwelcoming, most covered in protective spikes. I find their unique adaptations to be beautiful and alluring. Observing and admiring these wild plant forms also serves as a way to both honor and embrace the beauty that lies within the more raw aspects of myself. In this way, my paintings are reflections of interior and exterior states of being…a combination of the psychological and the physical. I understand them as a form of self-portraiture, as the plants themselves resemble life cycles and transitions I have experienced both mentally and physically. The large scale cutouts of flora are invitations for the viewer to step into my vision of an arid wilderness. The pastel colors portray not only what I have physically seen, but what I have felt. When I am in the arid wilderness I drift into a daydream, and am able to connect to the energy that lies within the worlds we don't see. Relief carving is a way to engrave my own mark on the flora, and functions as a visualization of the unseen energy constantly pulsing through these botanical enigmas.

I display the paintings to appear as if they are floating to provoke a transcendental experience. The luminescent glow behind each piece adds to the overall ethereal mood of the space, creating a subtle aura of the lifeforms’ energy. All of these elements combine with the intention to create a temporary escape and a glimpse into another realm of being.

I invite you to experience my Arid Visions…

Additional Files

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Rebirth .jpg (3581 kB)

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Midnight Bloom

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Golden Goddesses