Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2015

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)




Owen Smith

Second Committee Member

Amy Stacey Curtis

Third Committee Member

Susan Bickford


As an artist progressing through the University's Intermedial MFA program, my practice has focused on ritual as an expressive art form, one that binds human consciousness to landscapes. In support of my practice, I have researched the phenomena of a sensed intelligence existing in dialogue with landscape, and I have come to the conclusion that ritual is uniquely capable of bridging the chasm between human consciousness and this intelligence. Historically rooted in the traditions of human culture, ritual serves a deeply embedded need of the human psyche to locate itself in relation to landscape and the greater universe. This thesis will serve to frame ritual as a powerfully expressive art form, one that is well suited for artists and other practitioners seeking a spiritual connection to landscape.

As a student, my understanding of ritual as a richly expressive art form developed by degrees over the course of three years and with much trial and practice. In observing my own psychological and physical response to landscape, I discovered that the incorporation of ritual in my practice enlivened my approach towards art making; resolved recurring issues of blocked creativity and low self-esteem; fostered a renewed sense of connectedness to a higher power in guiding my efforts, and served to engage audiences in new and exciting ways. In preparing myself for ritual, I achieved altered states of consciousness through physical and mental exertion, guided trance, divination, channeling, conjuring, prayer, dance, running, mindfulness and meditation. The works I produced in preparation for ritual and the rituals themselves serve as the artefactual evidence of my art practice over the course of three years and are attached hereto as my thesis portfolio.