2013 Senior Theses
Subtractive painting : or, ADHD color fields Abstract
This thesis accompanies a body of paintings executed through a process of chemical subtraction with household cleaning products. The first chapter covers the process of making the work as well as artists who have used brushstrokes as the content of their work, like David Reed, Roy Lichtenstein, and Joan Snyder. The second chapter looks at a history of the intersection between material and figurative subtraction, covering Robert Rauschenberg, early Dada, Jackson Pollock, Sigmar Polke, and Andy Warhol. The third chapter discusses the use of fluorescent color by the painters Herb Aach and Peter Halley and looks at what I have defined as ‘screen culture’—or the emerging tendency for paintings to mimic digital media.
Painterly Gastronomy Abstract
My thesis project consists of 7 abstract paintings that I turned into dishes using molecular gastronomy and the various ingredients’ textures and colors. I explore the relationship between the paintings, the dishes and the photographs of the dishes, as well as the process of serving these creations. I suggest connections between artworks that have used food as either a medium or a final product and then relate them to my own work.
Surreal Returns Abstract
This interdisciplinary thesis examines Surreal Russian animation at two different points in Soviet history: during the Brezhnev Era of Stagnation and Gorbachez's Glasnost', and also analyzes the reuse of similar surreal themes and formal devices in an original animation made for the studio art portion of this thesis. The investigation focuses on two animations: Andrei Khrzhanovsky's, The Glass Harmonica (1968) and Igor' Kovalyov's, His Wife (1989), and compares them historically and theoretically to the ideological positions of André Breton and formally to several humorous animations of the animators' contemporaries. The discussion of the author's own work describes an experimental crossover between stop-motion animation and color-keying techniques as well as the stylistic and narrative influence of Czech animator, Jan Švankmajer.
Chronotropics : Aesthetics Of The Moribund Abstract
Between September 2012 and May 2013, I produced a series of oil paintings that explore how language necessarily fails to identify dynamic processes. The paintings’ specific subjects include deserts, onions, jawbreakers and mummies, among other things – iterations of matter that are far less important in their transformation as moribund individuals. On one level, the paintings self-referentially document the moving painting process: their brushstrokes mark their gestural initiation, which the completed paintings mark movement within and beyond the timeframe in which they were made. This text clarifies my ideas concerning undying processes and the living actors that take part in them.
Games Effecting Gameplay Abstract
My thesis studies video games as a new contemporary art medium. As a new art medium there are many things about it which most do not know. These are typically general questions like "what is a video game?" and "who makes video games?" and "what links video games and art?". With my thesis I hope to answer some of these questions. In my first chapter, I discuss how video games as experienced by the mainstream market today come to be, what they are, and in doing so demonstrate video games as the most recent iteration of older mechanical game forms. In my second chapter, I discuss how video games are developed and introduce three categories of developers who are typically responsible for video game development. In my third chapter, I discuss the video game medium and related practices as they relate to conceptual art. I finish this chapter with a section about the work I've made over the last eight months in conjunction with this written thesis.
For The Record Abstract
This thesis explores new and old media specifically relating to the mp3 and vinyl record. In the digital ephemera of today, vinyl records have gained new traction. The first chapter explores the history of music-recorded media, specially the record, leading up to today. It also acknowledges the role of analog media in art today. The second chapter evaluates the record and the mp3 based on materiality subject-object relationships, and memory. It deals with Bill Brown’s “thing theory”, the “biographical commodity model” of Igor Kopytoff, and Hal Foster’s “archival impulse”, as well as C. Nadia Seremetakis’ model of materiality and memory. The third chapter discusses my works’ functionality and their relationship to the theorists mentioned in chapter two. This chapter addresses my role as an artist in my process and the effects of invoking living room and record shop aesthetics in my exhibition space. For the Record is a ode to things and materiality, as wall as a challenge to new media.
Rebecca Gilbert Switzer
Fragile : life and decay of sugar and body Abstract
In this thesis I explore questions of the materiality of sculptural sugar glass through medical and physiological perspectives of the human form. Sugar glass is an animate material that is capable of decay, growth, and consumption, similar to the human body. It is also a deceptive substance, tricking the human eye into believing it is glass produced by sand, a material that is visually stagnant and unchanging, impervious to time. In the studio component, I will explore struggles of the life of a changing material versus the life of the ailing body through sculpture and social practice. The written section is constructed through discussion of the material’s history, cultural, political and artist’s theories on the medical body.
Nadgrobnyj Madrigal : Russian-American Funerary Aesthetics In California And Oregon Abstract
This thesis presents a summary of field research into the appearance of visually distinctive tombstones in Russian-American communities along the West Coast. It then posits the artist’s book form both un the West and the Soviet Union. The final chapter is a discussion of my own work with relation of the artist’s book tradition discussed in the second chapter.