2020 MFA Alumni Thesis Exhibition

Marisa Lewon

They (You) Told Me To Paint Again, So I Did

This work is a response to my continuous attempts at making art over the last year. The world still feels tumultuous, and art currently does not feel like a cathartic space or home as it once did. Spaces of comfort and discomfort have always been themes in my work and I feel as though I have been living in that fluctuating, tension-filled edge between the two extremes. I am both the THEY and the YOU in the painting, but so is every extrinsic motivator.

In this work, my perception of and aversion to ideas of comfort are echoed through exploration of personal memory. Utilizing the visual structure of a barnacle in addition to my text, I view the maturation of this creature as a metaphor for human life. As “children” barnacles can freely swim about, much like a small fish or tadpoles. As they age, they create a calcified shell around themselves, remaining in one place until they eventually die, leaving behind just the shell as proof of their existence. There are many parallels that can be drawn between the life cycle of this small shellfish and humans. My work depicts a fabricated mental reality, representing a distinct binary between the desire to never settle and the need to find a place that feels secure.