Marisa Schreiber

Instincts of Abandonment

Senior Project April 2014


The work I have created is centered on instinctual responses to abandonment.  Abandonment can be anything from divorce, loss of a loved ones life, being left somewhere alone, or even being left alone by parental neglect.  Research shows that our responses to these life events is the feeling of constant underachieving, fear of being alone, never feeling loved, longing for attention, and in the worst cases Borderline Personality Disorder.  For the case of Blizzard, the Bengal Tiger depicted in my work, she was left at a vet’s office because she had a crushed skull when she was born and the breeder decided he couldn’t sell her.  Over the past few years I have frequented Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary and become very close with Blizzard.  I feel as if we are connected at a higher level, as if I know what she is thinking.  Our communication is through our eyes.  I believe that not only are the eyes the window to our souls, but they tell what we want, what we’ve been through and how we feel.  This work is an attempt at capturing what both Blizzard and I have been through and what we are feeling.

This work is a direct expression of my biggest flaws, the days where I feel as if I have under-achieved, am not loved, not noticed, and will be left again.  These flaws, as I call them, are all a result of being abandoned.  From a very young age, I had already experienced several instances of abandonment.  My biggest blow in abandonment however, came when I lost the most important woman in my life, the woman who raised me for the first few years, my Namu, who passed away a little over a year ago (age 22).  My Namu didn’t only raise me; she was my North Star, my guidance, and my biggest role model.  Through Blizzard, I feel as if I share her pain, and have endured the same emotions, and our eyes hold the stories we have to tell.  My intent is that the monotypes and the paintings will communicate my emotions enough so that the viewer can distinguish the connection, creating a narrative between the two.  Each color used has been selected based on personal intent as well as the psychological emotions they represent.  For example red represents anger and rage, which is what is felt towards those that abandoned you.  Purple can represent introversion and inferiority, much like the feeling of never being good enough for oneself or for others.

I developed my paintings by creating a series of black and white charcoal drawings and then slowly started to add color.  I decided that by using a very limited palette the color will speak louder than it would have if Blizzard were painted in her natural color.  In addition to the paintings of the eyes, I’ve also included monotypes that connect to the paintings by way of color and emotion.  Each eye that I have painted will match a monotype print that has a single color (that matches the eye in the painting) and a silhouette of a tiger in the body language that expresses the emotion.  The silhouette of the tigers in the monotypes are drawn with a mixture of acrylic paint and black India Ink.

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