||Art has become a term that eludes definition. Inasmuch as art is a truly human activity, I believe that any attempt to explore this complex topic must establish as its foundation basic human capacities. I propose that this foundation consists of three aspects of human interest that come together in various combinations to explain the class of artifacts that we call art. They consist of the Sensate capacity, the Model-Making capacity, and creation and use of Status. These three categories also mirror the three primary spheres of human concern: the sensual, the intellectual, and the social. Because semifunctional definitions of art can be (and have been) created in each of these categories, I believe that the complex and often contradictory aims of these three concerns explain why an essential definition of art remains elusive. The works in my thesis show draw on the influences of optical instruments in the history of visual depiction. Digital images can be a bridge between photography and painting. In a photograph, there is always the assumption of a physical presence to be captured by the photographer. In painting, we allow for the possibility that what is represented may or may not have been what the artist experienced. My work shares this attribute. Although some elements in my work depict real things, many objects have never had a tangible physical existence. These elements are modeled completely inside the world of a computer. They are ghosts made of nothing more substantial than numbers, yet they seemingly share a space with objects that have both physicality and history. Lenses and mirrors are a common thread in my work. Lenses represent seeing and are at the core of our biology of perception. They represent a point of view and a narrow focus. Mirrors are a metaphor for art itself as well as the process of self knowledge and discovery. They are also part of the tricks of mind and eye: smoke and mirrors. In the end, perhaps all depictions share a strange mixture of magic, truth, and illusion.