Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Art & Art History

First Advisor

Richard Saxton

Second Advisor

Yumi J. Roth

Third Advisor

Michael Beitz

Fourth Advisor

Melinda Barlow

Fifth Advisor

Rebecca J. Safran

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



Aaron Treher, The Mineral Delivery Route

M.F.A., Department of Art and Art History

Thesis directed by Professor Richard Saxton

Mineral Delivery Route, is a multidisciplinary visual arts project that examines boundaries of culture, community, and nature through false-front structures, barns, and suburban houses. This thesis is a derivation of three years of research, investigating the formal and conceptual overlap of people and animals. Through my artistic practice I examine the perspective of barn swallows through the spaces they utilize for nest building.

Unlike other animals which find their habitats in trees, shrubs, grass, or rocks, barn swallows use man-made architecture exclusively; defying the binary of man-made and natural habitats. Their perspective places no hierarchical boundaries between people or animals, urban or rural, culture and ecology , or pest and native species. For barn swallows, the world is a continuum of materials, forms, and spatial relationships. Human architecture offers shelter, stability, and little competition from other wild animals.

My methodological approach involves a formal and conceptual investigation of avian habitats as they relate to barn swallows specifically, and their relationship to the human built environment. As mentioned previously, barn swallows build nests on barns but nest in a vast variety of structures, both agricultural and beyond. Their nesting habits make them a unique subject to draw from for an arts practice. Drawing, documentation, material studies, and construction of sculptures all play a part in examining the overlap of habitats and cultural spaces. Additionally, this thesis maps artists, ecologists and art theorists that help in building an understanding of the built environment, architecture, ecology, and culture as elements of the continuum and habitats of barn swallows.

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