Date of Award

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Art & Art History

First Advisor

Christy McCain

Second Advisor

Yumi Roth

Third Advisor

Richard Saxton

Abstract

Communing with (Non) Nature is an installation that pulls apait the traditional style of natural history museum dioramas to expose the falsity of the displays we experience. The use of the diorama as an educational space reveals the western colonialist tradition to simulate experiences not readily available to the masses, often at the expense of the object studied. In the act of fabricating the experience to make it more broadly accessible, we create a false experience - a non-natural experience. In this paper "non-natural" or "non-nature" will be defined as the recreation or simulation of a natural space using synthetic and/or preserved materials. In creating dioramas to teach and preserve, we often ruin the objects they represent. The diorama is no more than a caricature of the reality it is trying to depict, yet also serves as a way for us to further understand our need to curate the world around us. In my sculpture Communing with (Non) Nature, I am seeking to prompt questions about this process, to encourage viewers to confront the function of the museum, the non-natural nature displays, and our failure to commune with the natural.

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