Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Art & Art History

First Advisor

Jeanne Quinn

Second Advisor

Kim Dickey

Third Advisor

Scott Chamberlin

Fourth Advisor

Melinda Barlow

Abstract

PREFACE Everything in life is memory, save/or the thin edge of the present. -Michel Gazzaniga (Foster 2) My goals in graduate school were to change my artwork, to make more autobiographical artwork, to experiment with different materials, and to make objects that were unknown to me. Is/was and the in between is different from my previous pinched earthenware sculptures that focused on the form, the hand, and cultural definitions of vessels. I feel it is important to preface this discussion and invite artist biography into the understanding of this body of work. My three years in grad school have been unavoidably bookended by my mother's declining health, her fading participation within my family, and eventual death. Over the last five years, I watched her dementia take away small and large parts of her personality and ability to function. In this time, I have experienced the tectonic shift of a parent's decline and death. This is the most autobiographical and vulnerable work I have ever created. It is informed by a time of allconsuming grief and loss in my life when I no longer could find the reserves to deflect to another subject for my work. It became clear to me that while living my grief, sculpting the body was a way to process my experience. Grief has knocked the wind out of me and the emotional place I have been making from these last few months is my knees. These figurative sculptures are a catalogue of my corporeal experiences, complete with them being contained into an oppressive and dark installation. In Remembrance a/Things Past, Marcel Proust wrote, "Ideas come to us as the successors to griefs, and griefs, at the moment when they change into ideas, lose some part of their power to injure our heart" (Proust 944). In this place of powerlessness and grief, I have transformed my emotional pain into concepts, I look to my body as a road map, and to my making practice as a way to chart a course through this time and these ideas.

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