Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


I believe that art should engage emotion, foster imagination, and challenge people to think more deeply about existence. The violent and self destructive nature of humanity urges me to consider an aesthetic that is ultimately respectful of our mortality and beautiful fragile existence. I am most enthralled with art that stimulates me in a visceral, emotional, and physically effective way. I am interested in the nervous energy that courses through the threatened mind and how to create power in a work of art through its ability to access the nervous system. Because the most common triggers of this sensation have to do with self-preservation and the employment of shock, artists like Damien Hirst, Francis Bacon, and Otto Dix have confronted our sensibilities of safety by balancing the qualities of destruction and frailty. This work and the humanity it represents, perpetuate a vicious cycle. The vicious cycle presents a solution that ultimately exacerbates the problem. Human violence is an oft engaged solution that threatens the very thing we wish to preserve – existence. I have found and technical and formal necessity to engage the same sense of balance and execution. As I worked with these paradoxical themes in print media, I discovered a serial repetition of imagery. The result is a print cycle detailing the delicate yet savage nature that defines the human condition.


Leland W. Powers

Date of Award

Summer 2009

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


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