This thesis follows the exploration of the subject of falling within the context of mythology. This mythology is both a personal journey through the process of creating figurative paintings and one that explores archetypes from our cultural past. It links this journey through the process of painting to other artists who have explored their own subjective themes in their work and built relationships between representational work and abstraction. As these paintings have developed I have been driven by the desire to capture the transient nature of flesh and beauty. This seeking to preserve the fragments of movement and sentient being has lead to me to the media of painting and the topic of falling. Falling can imply a moral state or a sense of mortality. In Abrahamic religions the fallen are the damned. To be one of the fallen implies that the soul will not be elevated into heaven. Suddenly these birds can be dropping souls and the atmosphere around them becomes mythic and otherworldly. Mythologies rise and fall and yet their archetypes remain. Within this thesis I explore the inclusion of archetypal symbolism in the paintings I create in order to make a reference to the context of the fall. This thesis also follows how tragedy shaped the depth of my painting. Each work contains the ramifications of death and how it pushed me further into the reasons behind the paintings. In summary, this thesis explores the concrete aspects of paint in order to catch images of fallen, falling, and crashing birds. The paintings explore space, value, compositional line, and the amount of information necessary in order to create the sense of the individual bird. The paintings explore various contexts for the birds, such as the inclusion of the figure or aspects of the figure, metaphorical and mythological catalysts, and elements of landscape.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Painting--Themes, motives; Painting--Technique; Death in art; Birds in art; Mythology, Greek, in art

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School of Art (CIAS)


Feeney-Bushnell, Eileen

Advisor/Committee Member

Lightfoot, Thomas


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: ND1460.D45 M36 2008


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