Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Fine Arts

Degree Program

Art (Creative) and Art History with a concentration in Studio Arts, MA

Committee Chair

Calvert, Tiffany

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Carothers, Mary

Committee Member

Carothers, Mary

Committee Member

Polzer, Natalie

Author's Keywords

art; ritual; religion; light


The research of this thesis is concerned with the investigation of various approaches to religious theory; specifically, the observable analysis of performed ritualistic procedures and their theoretical anticipated effects. Through the examination of the illusory characteristics of the interaction of color and light I am able to draw analogous correlations between art making and ritualistic action. By enacting optical illusion as metaphor for ritual presence, I compare rational and empirical methods of observation. This analysis examines the discrepancy of physical fact and physic effect in that illusion employs physically observable means to render an intangible (non-material) physic effect. Such observances challenge notions of factual knowledge as it pertains to a physical reality. The intangible existence brought about by illusion is recognized and perceived though it is not physically present. It is regarded as fact. It is for this reason that I conclude in this thesis that so-called verifiable fact, as it pertains to individual experience and the acquisition of knowledge, consist of more than empirical observation. Instead, it is coupled with creativity, fantasy, and imagination - all of which are cognitive processes influenced by thought, experience, and sensory perception.