Art, Art History and Design, School of


First Advisor

Karen Kunc

Second Advisor

Francisco Souto

Date of this Version



A THESIS The University of Nebraska Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Fine Arts, Major: Art ,Under the Supervision of Karen Kunc and Francisco Souto. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2020

Copyright 2020 Amanda Durig


Every morning as I set out for a walk, my mind starts trailing off as my eyes scan my neighborhood; I begin to wander into a daydream, tuning in to the pictures that I paint in my mind, imposing what I am observing into a new possibility of reality. This exploration into the lives of others in this world is a breath of fresh air, a reprieve from the demands of daily life. I am inspired by the narrative that is unknowingly being written into the earth by my neighbors, intrigued by the solutions that they come up with for cultivating spaces for growth and fertility while having limited spatial capabilities. My mixed media prints and drawings are rooted in the intersections between man-made structures interacting with nature and how the mind perceives a memory of what is seen through imagination and invention.

The foundation for my body of work is built from old textbook illustrations, photographs from outdoor encounters and my experiences as a gardener. I reference structural objects that resemble greenhouses, garden boxes, and cold frames; such structures create spaces that propagate the potential for growth, which is a hoped-for outcome with unseen processes and perils. Retranslating these images and concepts between my mind and my hand helps to mimic an action of toggling between airy daydreams and physical reality. These homemade solutions in the garden become drawn and designed forms that similarly grow into a variety of spatial transformations.

I wrestle with reconciling the tension between ephemeral moments and permanent fixtures with material choices and applications in the work. The residue of a fleeting moment is reflected in drawn elements, I apply powdered graphite as if to evoke a cloud of settling dust, revealing bits and pieces of something recognizable. I make high-contrast marks in colored pencil to resemble the spray paint markings I see each day on sun-bleached grass. I layer powdered charcoal gradually to resemble a shadow, a figment of a memory. The acid-bitten lines from the copper plate bring me back to reality with the physicality and time of the process. The image is embedded below the surface of the plate as it has imprinted upon my mind. By creating a repeatable image and combining it with an intuitive approach to material application, I encourage the viewer to see and feel in this way, as forms appear, disintegrate, reappear in alternative ways in a visual and mental field. The transference of the image and idea takes place again in the viewer, as it resides in their mind’s eye.

Through this work, one may start to wonder; one’s mind begins to trail off into deep thought. The mental escape has taken place, but the body remains in the present. My art-making process begins with an obsession over collected and observed “garden-solution” imagery, where, through making multiples, I create familiar spaces that speak to the multitude of possibilities for success in cultivating growth and imagination in everyday life.

Advisors: Karen Kunc and Francisco Souto