2008 Senior Theses
Understanding the "Underground" Abstract
My thesis is concerned with the predicament of the modern individual, and thus is both an attempt to understand as well as express the peculiar state of the individual in a world increasingly consumed by universalizing and generalizing principles. I attempt to illustrate my personal alienation and confusion when confronted by the many dehumanizing forces prevalent in the world today. In order to provide an alternative, I attempt to make work based on my subjectivity, also asserting the importance of autonomy and independent existence by means of creating two large, handmade and hand-printed books, concentrating around the idea of death, which in turn derives from the Existential perception of death as a crucial aspect of life, the awareness of which assists and encourages individuality and authentic existence.
Aging into Abjection: Imaging the Decline Narrative of Old Age Abstract
The aging body, like the body of the terminally ill, is shrouded in medial terminology and exiled from popular culture. The aging body is physically marked but also socially inscribed. As we age, our bodies become sources of anxiety, and the surface of the body, as a site of identity construction, becomes increasingly crucial. The figures produced herein are stereotypes and simulations of real bodies based on found images as well as historical and contemporary medical images. By depicting the aging body in this way I hope to demonstrate how the medical and artistic modes of viewing shape the visible body, physically and discursively.
Revealing the Dualities in Hand-Made Domestic Textiles Abstract
As I sharpened my study of textiles to those that were created with domestic purposes I found that a number of contrasting themes enveloped my study. While I sought to perceive why textile work has been practiced, primarily by women, in the home for practically the entirety of Western civilization I found that there were a multitude of reasons and situations that were often dissimilar.
Following the use of textiles or domestic themes by artists though the Feminist art movement I found yet more dualities: art versus craft; femininity as essential versus created; the house as home or prison, comfortable versus stifling; the beholder versus the beheld and the nature of women to shift easily between them. I followed these distinctive themes though my artwork, hoping to display the simultaneously to expose a contrast that I feel is both intriguing and, at times, unsettling.
Arresting Form: Resisting Permanence Abstract
My work in this thesis is to expose art to life as a motion of changing form through birth, growth, death and my own fabricated reformation of natural processes. The physical form of all material is ultimately governed by the motion of natural movement, and art is the path through which I wish to explore the possibilities of this movement. I seek to challenge the culturally structured distinctions separating forms to demonstrate the interaction of three forms through movement: my own human body, plastic refuse material, and the natural element of water.
The Female Artist’s Body in Televisual Works of Art: Understanding Response and Encouraging Empathy Abstract
“Why do so many female artist put themselves in their work–often with no clothes on?” How does one answer the question, “why have there been no great women artists?” Does the image of a woman behind any screen, one of narrative conventional film form or not, always provoke a scopophilic, sexual or arousing instinct in their viewer? How is the viewer, as they stand before a work of art in which the female body is the referent, figured today? These questions are posed at the outset of this thesis and act as the groundwork for a historiography of response to the female artist’s body in works of video or televisual art. The ideas and theories set forth by Linda Nochlin, Laura Mulvey, David Freedberg, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Amelia Jones among others help to expand and narrow this historiography as well as posit strategies for the artists to trigger new response. This thesis is interested in understanding why people see and respond the way that they do as well as an understanding of gendered response. This thesis looks at the strategies that the female artist might employ to encourage new modes of response and subsequently a viewing experience that promotes intersubjectivity, notions of parafeminism and empathy.
The latter half of this thesis considers a number of different artists and art historians including Tracy Emin, Bruce Nauman, Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali, Shuji Terayama, Ryan Trecartin, Pipilotti Rist, Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno and Michael Fried, whose influence and ideas have helped to shape my own work. Upon consideration of the different practices, aesthetics, themes and theories of these artists and art historians I am able to communicate the intentions behind my most recent body of work as wella s those practices and strategies that I would like to hone in works to come. A consideration of my video installation for my thesis show Psychomachia, my intentions and aesthetic choices, concludes this thesis.