© 2018 by Samantha Mack

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Annotated Gallery: 25 Images

The selected annotated images below help to situate my current practice both visually and conceptually. Many are accompanied by relevant links to other parts of my website. The images are drawn from an original archive of 100, which can be viewed here.



I have been extremely interested embroidery as of late, and this approach (artist unknown) offers a very clever use of negative space. The visual and thematic significance of webs and gaps also applies to my inspirations drawn from the writings of James Elkins.




This color gradient is closely representative of my color research on chromatic grays between pink and teal. Gradients themselves also relate to my interest in periods of transition, and these particular colors have an interesting relationship to bodily decay, as described in my color theory research post.




I am deeply inspired by tragically romantic literature, and Shakespeare's Hamlet is one of my favorite works. This painting, which beautifully depicts the fate of Ophelia, is also a favorite of mine.




Another take on Ophelia, entitled White (Ophelia), by Polish artist Joanna Smielowska. I deeply appreciate the spiritual, ephemeral, and eerie qualities of this image, and its use of interwoven and overlapping line evokes a similar quality to fiber patterns.



Sunrises and sunsets are especially inspiring to me as visually stunning manifestations of transitions between light and darkness. I took the photo above while on a road trip across the United States this summer...



...and painted this mural in my childhood bedroom when I was in high school, so my sunset obsession has been a longstanding one. At the start of the quarter, I discovered the connection between this repeated motif and my recent color palette.




The intermingling of life and death - to optimistic and lighthearted effect. A phenomenon I hope to capture in my work.



Another image concerned with death as a part of life and playing with moments of both harmony and tension between death and beauty. I have also been interested in high-contrast images that push and pull the eye between areas of light and dark in both my drawing and painting studio work.



A bouquet of flowers I once recieved...they dried beautifully and retained their vibrant colors for months. An encapsulation of both my current color palette and themes, with a relationship to the floral forms that appear in crochet.




A photograph taken on a rainy day back in my hometown, Pittsburgh. I enjoy the duality of melancholy and hope in this image - an absence of sun but an abundance of potential for growth.




A selection of crocheted ornaments made by my great grandmother, who has inspired me throughout my life, especially in my love of crochet.



A photograph I took in a cemetery back in Pittsburgh. Cemeteries are sites for inspiration, contemplation, and creation for me.




A photograph I took on my first visit to Bonaventure cemetery in Savannah. This place has resonated with me deeply and in a variety of ways over the course of my time here.




A photo I captured during the surreal experience of witnessing the Northern Lights (and a shooting star) in Norway. I am fascinated by natural phenomena, particularly those relating to the sky, where the drama of light and darkness play out against an eternal canvas. Travel and photography also deeply inform my work.




I observed this reflection of light through a stained glass window. I find myself intrigued by moments and spaces where light and shadow, the physical and spiritual, and the natural and man-made collide.




Refracted light and cast shadow from a glass of iced tea on a summer studio day back in Pittsburgh. This image has both thematic and nostalgic resonance for me.




A richly populated library (location unknown)...I hope my house looks like this someday.





A danse macabre. This style of imagery rose to prominence as a result of the Black Plague in the 14th century. Interestingly, my long-time inspiration author and mortician Caitlyn Doughty earned her Bachelor of Arts in medieval history.




Jim McKenzie's Grim Reaper sculpture, the making of which was featured in his short film Friends with Death. Read more about it in my post here.




Caspar David Friedrich's Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog. This image was featured on the cover of another 19th century work, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Tennyson's In Memoriam comes from this era as well; these three works are some of my all-time favorites.




Duane Michals' photographic series Grandpa Goes to Heaven. I am continually inspired by Michals' subject matter and approach.




Frida Kahlo, The Broken Column (1944). I greatly admire Khalo's ability to work through deeply personal and painful subject matter in paintings that go beyond the strictly representational.




A skeleton at sunset (artist unknown). In my In Memoriam Illustrated series, I have repeatedly used the form of the skeleton as a universal stand-in for all people, and in my paintings, I have employed a sunset color palette in keeping with the previously mentioned theme of transition. I hope to someday merge these visual symbols in future works.




A photograph taken during my first Sunday visit to Catholic Cemetery in Savannah. The image is in color but naturally appears black and white...




An illustration called Corpse Meditation by Landis Blair, created for author and mortician Caitlyn Doughty. Both are personal inspirations to me for their insightful reflections on death.




Thanks for reading! For more information on my research, check out other posts on my blog or browse my reference library here.