Date of Award

Spring 4-21-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Art & Art History

First Advisor

Alvin Gregorio

Second Advisor

Richard Saxton

Third Advisor

Melinda Barlow

Fourth Advisor

Erin Espelie

Fifth Advisor

Jeanne Quinn

Abstract

M/Other spaces examines the thesis work, a projected video installation titled Skin, to elucidate my artistic practice and aesthetic philosophy. The second part of the thesis paper traces my pursuit of the question, "Why is it so damn hard to be an artist and a mother?"

My methodology begins with using the embodied-experience as a source of knowledge. Existential phenomenology asserts that sensory stimulation is a primal way of knowing, preceding the influence of judgment and translation of experience into abstract constructions of knowledge. I explore what truths can be known from bodily experience, and I'm interested in the sites of conflict where the body is oppressed, constricted, or discomforted by the man-made environment.

Through my research, I have found the historical and theoretical basis that helps explain my experience and desire to make work centered around institutional critique and social practice. Using psychoanalytic theory, feminist theory, and existential phenomenology, I argue that it is necessary to acknowledge the continued affect of a gender hierarchy in the collective unconscious and its residual effect on the production of women artists.

The expression and expectation of the egocentrism of the artist and the self-sacrifice of the mother has affected every aspect of my artistic practice. My research has led to an understanding of the nature of the artist-mother as a dichotomy, in which the exertion of one suppresses the expression of the other. My thesis work reflects my reconciliation between the two schizophrenic identities and a newfound agency in my artistic practice.

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