Kara LaRose

Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Susan Palmisano, M.F.A.

Second Advisor

Nathan Heuer, M.F.A.

Third Advisor

Robert Sweeny, Ph.D.


My M.F.A. thesis exhibition, Living with Fibromyalgia: Confronting Chronic Pain, uses my personal experiences of living with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition, to create a visual representation of the pain and dysfunction that are a part of my everyday life. Today’s society has an aversion to acknowledging pain and tends to treat it as a mere symptom because embracing pain forces us to accept our own mortality. We therefore shy away from frank discussions of pain out of instinct, often ostracizing those who are suffering. This body of work encourages the audience to directly confront the experience of living with fibromyalgia or other chronic pain conditions. I choose to use a visual medium to represent the nature of pain as attempts to define it with language often fall short.

The medium of encaustic paint is chosen because of its sculptural capacities to create woundlike surfaces and textures that emulate the struggles of life with fibromyalgia. Imagery that references the anatomical structures believed to cause fibromyalgia pain is also utilized in order to represent the body’s flawed methods of functioning. This work engages the viewer in a way that pure language cannot so that we can challenge our societal norm to hide pain away.

Included in

Fine Arts Commons