Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Painting and Drawing

Department or School/College

Department of Art

Committee Chair

James Bailey

Commitee Members

Bradley Allen, Prageeta Sharma


abstract art, abstraction, canvas, contemporary art, large scale, mandala, missoula, murdoch, oil painting, Tina Mills, works on paper


University of Montana


The articulation of happenstance and of the enigmatic nature of everyday things is one way concepts in my work have been filtered through and informed by memory, emotion and the experience of life that is both lived as a process and inhabited as a space. My current work attempts to embody as much resolved chaos as possible while emphasizing a quality of paradox. During my graduate studies in studio art, I have worked in a variety of fine art media including, graphite pencil and ink drawing, collage, watercolor, acrylic, egg tempera, oil paint, digital photographic prints, aluminum and iron casting, ceramics and found object assemblage. Working through these different processes refined my aesthetic sense, reinforcing my affinity for an organic, spontaneous and referential art-making process that allows me to approach painting from a number of conceptual locations simultaneously. The contradictions and accidents that occur in the process of making art echo contradictions and accidents that occur in other areas of life. Such things are both inevitable and unavoidable, unfolding enigmatically much the same way paintings are ultimately resolved. My thesis work, entitled Bliss, is a series of paintings derived from photographs that reference the ordered symmetry of Buddhist mandalas. As representations of bliss states these works allude to the tenuous, shifting nature of experience. In this work, pieces of things coalesce to make a whole; entities threaten to fall apart or lose their center, loose associations of thoughts and feelings circulate. Just as mandalas become meditations on truth and transcendance, this work aims to induce bliss states in the viewer.



© Copyright 2009 Christina Murdoch Mills