Student Work

  • Illustration (BFA)

    Leigh Cunningham

    The Penitent

    The Penitent is a series of 30 oil paintings that express dark, intangible emotions and capabilities. I wanted to investigate traditional ideas of the repentant sinner through a contemporary lens, revealing despair and remorse in people alive today. It began as a multi-media project, filming people in churches or memorial services. I then selected stills from the footage that became resource material for a series of portrait paintings. In this way, my sources came to me by chance rather than being predetermined. My portraiture plays with the opposing but inseparable themes of presence versus absence, both in a mental and physical sense, and is ultimately striving to create a plane of existence between reality and the ethereal.