Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Winter 1970

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Fine Arts

Committee Chair

B. Stephen Bayless

Second Committee Member

Richard T. Doi

Third Committee Member

William V. Dunning


This study was commenced as an investigation into the aesthetics of existentialism as applied to contemporary art in America, particularly painting. This student believes that to the artist who recognizes the absurdity of his existence, irony is the natural mode of expression. It is also the belief of this student that the form of irony in recent American art, expressed primarily in parody and black humor, indicates America’s own particular brand of cheerful nihilism. The purpose was to better understand the aesthetics of existentialism, to apply these to contemporary art, and finally to apply these influences to the student’s own painting. The ultimate purpose was to objectify and articulate her own attitudes towards art.