Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Summer 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


School of Art, Design and Art History


Cole Welter

Rebecca Silberman


My work is Neo-Romantic in nature. This description implies a rejection of all that is tedious, mundane, and ugly in the modern world, in favor of looking to history, nostalgia, and mystery for inspiration. I intend for the work to be dreamlike and evocative of fantasy, to be poetic rather than prosaic, and to be beautiful rather than purposeful.

To this end, I am investigating abstraction in photography through the use of the wet-plate collodion process. The work is intended to reference spirituality and the subconscious, through the use of the abstraction of nature and natural forms, using the inherent aesthetics of the collodion process to convey introspective meditation and Surrealist automatism. Certain aspects of the work, namely the use of nature as metaphor for the psyche and a penchant for gothic aesthetics, have conceptual parallels in 19th century Dark Romanticism and the contemporary Dark Mountain Movement. These references will be discussed and related to the body of work presented here.

The work takes the final form of large-scale, colorful abstractions, which evokes a reference to Kandinsky and his investigation into the spiritual in art through the abstracted form. Although Kandinsky is referenced for his authorship of this idea, I supplement this reference with my own views on the creation and perception of art, and the necessity for the spiritual in art in the contemporary environment. Art is a form of transcendent experience in the face of the ordinariness and hostility of the everyday world. This idea resonates greatly with me, as I have always believed this to be the primary purpose of art.

Included in

Fine Arts Commons



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