Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Painting & Sculpture

First Advisor

Philip Field

Second Advisor

Dr. Jean Braithwaite

Third Advisor

Susan Fitzsimmons


Space exploration has always fascinated me, and so has the idea ( so far fictional) that humankind may someday encounter extraterrestrial life. My series of paintings and prints are a visual expression of the awe and wonder I feel as I follow our species’s unending drive to expand the boundaries of its known world.

But the unknown is not just out there in interstellar space. And there are other lifeforms to encounter right here on our own planet. Another series of my paintings documents Earth’s flora. Our ties to the microorganisms, animals, and plants on our planet, and the life which may exist on far away stars, are facets of the same question: how are we interrelated? And how do we manage the dwindling resources of our planet? (I speculate that a mining colony to extract resources from Mars is in our near future.)

The challenge of space is equal to, not greater, than the challenge of our shared life on Earth. The octopus and the whale are intelligent lifeforms, alien to us, that must be recognized and preserved. As an artist I am interested in ways to connect the cosmic scale of the stars with the microscopically tiny organisms crucial to life on our planet: in both cases, embracing co-existence and diversity is my unifying artistic principal. My artistic predecessors include other painters but also science fiction writers, and film producers who have imagined possible future worlds and speculated about the characteristics which other races may embody


Copyright 2016 Mary P. Williams. All Rights Reserved.