Date of Award

5-9-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Art and Design

First Advisor

Susan Richmond

Second Advisor

Maria Gindhart

Third Advisor

John Decker

Abstract

Contemporary American “lowbrow” painter Camille Rose Garcia’s paintings from 2000 to 2004 depict dystopic toxic fantasy worlds where cartoon girls and animals are persecuted by evil creatures. Garcia’s sociopolitical messages in these works speak to the futility and irresponsibility of attempting to escape reality through retreating into isolated fantasy worlds or by abusing legal pharmaceuticals. The artificial utopias of Disneyland and suburbia and the utopic psychological space created by drug use assumed to be reality are rather simulacra as conceptualized by Jean Baudrillard. Garcia’s work asks viewers to set aside the desire to flee reality and encourages ideological rejection of these simulacra as reality by introducing fantastic and dystopian polysemy that disrupts prevailing notions of reality and exposes the systemic causes of current sociopolitical problems. For Garcia, a populace that continues blindly to accept Baudrillardian simulacra as reality will lead to the chaos and violence she depicts in her work.

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