Title page for ETD etd-11122008-122047

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Noble, Elizabeth Lorena
URN etd-11122008-122047
Title Add, Subtract, and Multiply: Paintings
Degree Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Department Art
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Edward Smith Committee Chair
Kelli Scott Kelley Committee Member
Mark Zucker Committee Member
Michael Crespo Committee Member
Rod Parker Committee Member
  • figure painting
  • painting
Date of Defense 2008-11-10
Availability unrestricted
Noble, Elizabeth Lorena, B.A., University of Central Arkansas, 2005

Master of Fine Arts, Fall Commencement, 2008

Major: Studio Art

Add, Subtract, and Multiply: Paintings

Thesis directed by Professor Edward Smith

Pages in thesis, 44. Words in abstract, 209.


This thesis chronicles the daily rituals involved in personal grooming, adornment, and cosmetic use. As a woman and a painter, I appropriate the female figure in my work and use the body to provoke thought and conversation about the concept of the body as a workable surface. I see the body surface similarly to how I see the painting surface. In my work, the figure becomes her own artist, owning her own body, and manipulating it however she pleases in a series of up-close, private moments within intimate spaces.

The body, it seems, has always been viewed as a surface. There is a wealth of history surrounding the plastic manipulation of the physical body which informs my work as I trace grooming, adornment, and cosmetic usage across time and various Western cultures in this thesis. The image that contemporary mass media projects of the ideal female body and appearance sparks my interest to seek historical information that can explain the evolution of cultural aesthetics and ideologies that aids in understanding why we do what we do to our bodies. I then appropriate the “pressures” felt by women to alter their appearances by owning the idea of the body as a surface onto which one may add, subtract, or multiply.

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