Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Art & Art History
My thesis project Splitting Water with Wood is an installation consisting of a handmade boat and projected video of a durational performance that engaged the boat in unconventional ways. Throughout the project and paper, I employ conceptions of faith as a crucial lens to begin to understand my current body of work; a handcrafted boat as an exploratory apparatus, the labor surrounding it as an act of devotion, and a resulting performance that experiments with ideas about baptism. By challenging presupposed notions of how a boat traditionally functions, I rely on the lively materiality of the object and its environment to capture and extract previously unforeseen possibilities. It considers the do-it-yourself lineage in my family and how that history of fabricating, constructing, and repairing informs me as an artist. Splitting Water with Wood draws on personal stories of my past and reimagines them as new narratives to explore the many facets of my Midwestern roots and provides insight to myself as a maker.
Smith, Matthew, "Splitting Water with Wood" (2017). Art Practices MFA Theses. 6.