Art

2010 Senior Theses

Angela Mestas

Documenting Cattle Ranches in Northern New Mexico: The Social Politics of Agrarian Imagery Abstract

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The focus of this work is on the social politics involved in the production of agrarian imagery. The paintings, photographs and sculptures included in this study document social and environmental relationships within agricultural economies. My artwork documents my family’s cattle ranch in northern New Mexico and the relationship the cattle have to water in the desert environment.

Ella Gold

SOLID GOLD: The Aesthetics of Consumer Culture or A Lesson in Shop Therapy for All Time Abstract

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SOLID GOLD explores the implications of art production in consumer culture. From nineteenth century advertising and packaging design to the Pop art movement of the sixties, the impact of art on consumer culture is undeniable. It is my own project to work with these models of art production in order to develop a concise argument about aesthetics in consumer society. Drawing from theorist like Baudrillard, as well as a historical analysis of the development of the contemporary consumer, SOLID GOLD, and the work I produce under that umbrella, intends to propose a new way of understanding art in consumer society.

Jamie Roux

Looking In Looking Out Abstract

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The creative portion of this thesis includes four paintings and several pastel drawings. This written document strives to articulate some of the thinking that went into the creation of this art. In this paper I analyze the work of other painters as a way in which to explain the content and form of my own paintings.

Josh Pemberton

Art as Craft: An Exploration of Intention in Visual Communication Abstract

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This thesis is organized to be an exploration into the role of intention within visual representation. Guided by the creative aspect of this project, chapter one of the written component observes and develops concepts inherent to the medium of drawing. Identifying the significance of intention and interpretation within representational drawing, this section goes on to observe and understand common Academic practices and the significance of referential material with regard to these ideas. Chapter two observes the capacity of visual imagery to convey narratives; its parallels to language, and the conditions and restrictions that must be identified in communicating visual information.

Kelly Harris

The Legible Body: tattoo, identity and corporeal inscription Abstract

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This thesis explores the idea of reclaiming one’s physical form through the lens of body modification and body art, working through what it means to visually create identity. I attempt to weave together feminist body theory, sculpture and tattoo. By creating a series of autobiographical tattoos that I then inscribed onto wax-coated casts of my body, I posited a possibility of control over the external gaze through the idea of “wearing” identity. In the creation of these images, I also explore the formation of selfhood, and what we use to define ourselves both to ourselves and to the outside world. Through the process of visually “collecting” significant objects, words and images and inscribing them onto the wax forms, I strove to create a “legible” body that shows its history on the skin.

Kelsey Brennan

Resisting Apprehension: Remapping Memory Abstract

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This thesis is an investigation of works of art that define themselves through a spatial relation with the viewer’s body, provoking a phenomenological response. My own body of work for this project builds on the premise outlined in the written portion of my thesis in three architecturally scaled installations. All of the work examined in this thesis identifies with Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s notion of the world as a body, thereby privileging the viewer as integral to the art-making process. The philosophical and historical study of these works guides my own art making process, in which I attempt to draw from the sensorial aspect of memory. In this case, I call upon memories of surfing and the experience of being in water as a means of creating three installations that provoke a similar phenomenological response in the viewer.

Lindsay Putnam

Youth Novels: Why Diaristic Photography and the Snapshot Aesthetic Are Worthwhile Abstract

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This thesis explores the role and place of analog images in the contemporary digital age in which we now live. Specifically I address the genre of diaristic photography, often termed “intimate” or “sub-cultural” documentary photography, a genre in which the artist approaches photographic documentation based on subjectivity as opposed to objectivity. In these works there is an emphasis on the photographer and the importance of their presence and interaction with the photographic process. The style that mimics amateur and domestic snapshot photography is used intentionally to stress the intimacy of the moment to the viewer as it provides evidence of the photographer and the camera’s actions through its imperfections. This thesis will explore the issues of how one approaches the documentation of one’s personal life and the banality of the everyday, and what makes this subject of interest to viewers in a way that engages them. To do this I address the works of photographers such as Nan Goldin, Ryan McGinley, Sandy Kim, Sally Mann, and Wolfgang Tillmans (to name a few) in relation to the traditions of documentary photography. I investigate the new directions taken to document reality in its most candid, unguarded states and analyse the formal devices employed to create intimate portrayals of life within their respective works. Also questioned will be the definitions of “authenticity” and “reality” and their relation to each other and importance.

What is complicated about this style of photography is the ever present question of “who cares?” and why I use this question to defend against the many critiques of this genre which makes claims to its superficiality, appeal through shock value, and lack of technical sophistication by emphasizing the underlying connection within all of snapshot photography which is its ability to make visible the human experience in the most simplistic manner. This manages to engage the viewer through shared experience. I tie many of the superficially unique moments recorded by snapshot photographers together by investigating their rejection of traditional photographic conventions in their personal documentation of the world around them. In this one sees the appeal of diaristic and everyday snapshot photography is its ability to present a new way of looking through its recognizable history paired with unusual and unfamiliar negotiation of these most mundane moments.

Oliver Mains

Road Box Abstract

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The Road Box is a combination of two opposing ideas: the “open road”– a non-specific liminal environment that exists as both infinitely isolated and connected in space– and the social construct of the box– a convention of containment that frames and encloses space.

The works in the exhibition center around the American road myth, a heterotopia that defies space and time, reconciles nature and civilization, and symbolizes the limitless opportunities promised by American freedom.

Through playful and transparent application of digital imaging techniques, the Road Box project evokes the spirit of the road myth while revealing it as a social construct.

Ultimately, the works deconstruct conventional modes of spatial representation, inviting the viewer to examine the systemized construction of visual heterotopias and how images are myths themselves.

Paul Clay

Documenting Cattle Ranches in Northern New Mexico: The Social Politics of Agrarian Imagery Abstract

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The focus of this work is on the social politics involved in the production of agrarian imagery. The paintings, photographs and sculptures included in this study document social and environmental relationships within agricultural economies. My artwork documents my family’s cattle ranch in northern New Mexico and the relationship the cattle have to water in the desert environment.

Rory Macrae-Gibson

HEADVAKASHUN: transubstantive situational sculpture Abstract

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The goal of this thesis is to produce installed works whose functions primarily are grounded in two complementary modes: manipulations of architectural space by physical and optical means, and relational interventions performed with the social space of the audience. Through the availability of interactive elements whose use produces flux in the built environment, a general heightening of the visitor’s sense of being in the installation is achieved. These strategies of space and usability are combined with the intention of creating active interiors that involve and integrate visitors with the work of the work—allowing them to become productive consumers in a bilateral relationship with the environment, and essential constituents of the overall situation of the piece over time.

Sat Byell Lee

Portrait Fields: Public Gaze and Private Thoughts Abstract

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This thesis is intended to present my senior studio work dating back to 2008 in a broad theme of portraiture. Accompanied by the studio work, this written component of the thesis aims to observe how portraits have been understood, developed, and challenged by artists, and how the genre has maintained legitimacy in contemporary art, while its representation between the subjects and the portrayed has been questioned by many artists.

Timothy Gowen-MacDonald

Hello World: The Paralysis of Possibility Abstract

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This is a thesis in two parts. The creative section of this thesis, which consists of two video installations, two painted images, and one digitally printed inkjet image, is derived wholly from content downloaded from the popular video sharing website YouTube.com. The original goal for the creative work was to investigate how media platforms like these effect how users interact with technology, culture, and each other. IN the process of making these films, however, it became clear that the unique characteristics of the Internet and its components– democratic, unregulated, and anonymous– render it resistant to meaningful critique. The resulting shift towards a medium based exploration of  Internet paradigms led the way to a more visual based video project, and three large format images. The images, by appropriating techniques and methodologies from other successful artists, each represent a different way of channeling the visual culture around us to create artistic expression.

Yoseff Ben-Yehuda

“Viewing Space”: Balancing Real and Virtual for a Focused Experience in Museum Architecture Abstract

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“Viewing Space” analyzes modern museum architecture htorugh a broader historical context in order to expose the conditions under which art today is typically presented and preserved. I argue that modern museum architecture presents an unbalanced experience of artworks. For the audience’s experience specifically, the real physical, literal, and material nature of works is out of sync with the virtual and artificial qualities of the works. I discuss hose American Minimalism in the 1960s, especially works and their presentation by artist and critic Donald Judd, brought with it a renewed focus on the viewer’s experience of the art as literal object. Finally, I put forth a proposed design, for an art museum that balances the viewer’s experience of both the real physical object and the virtual representation inherent ot the works. Rather than handling Minimalist works, the proposed design is shaped by a collection of works from the Greco-Roman, Renaissance and Abstract Expressionist periods.

Zada Speiss

Dimension Z: The Next Evolution Abstract

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My desire is the express the phenomenon of the super human artistically with costume as an evolutionary extension of the history of performance and spectacle. Each costume symbolically represents aspects of gender play and body manipulation with a super hero aesthetic. The purpose of my super human outfits is to empower sexual diversity. My work acknowledges the evolution of 20th century performance art, which includes the mechanized figure and issues of simultaneity, sexuality, fashion, sculpture, and identity. My work is an extension of this historical development, incorporation feminism and postmodernism. Using these themes in correlation with prominent historical precedents I am giving life to my super humans, figuratively proposing new power symbols that visually have the ability to redefine our contemporary conception of the human race.