Date of Award

Spring 5-8-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art & Art History

First Advisor

Susanna Cole

Second Advisor

Howard Singerman

Academic Program Adviser

Antonella Pelizzari


This thesis focuses on the Contemporary artist Sandra Swan, and how she peels back the layers of false identity and history created around Block Island, RI in her woodcuts. These woodcuts document the seafaring, landscape and architectural elements of the island, which are proven to be more contemporary than Block Island claims them to be. Through her pure observation and documentation, Swan reveals the falsities behind the early history of the island, as well as the maintained narrative of Block Island as a “place lost in time.” Her woodcutting technique links her to traditional nineteenth-century lithography, yet also places her within the Contemporary Art world through her use of scavenged wood. This thesis goes through her detailed work, which in turn depicts a truer history of the contemporary world of Block Island, RI.



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