Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art
I work in painting, installation, sculpture and photography. Inspired by personal events, my work transcends my individual experiences through the visual form. I create works that provide space for contemplation of the abstract visual qualities, while at the same time alluding to the actual events and cultural contexts that influenced my life. Since 2015, my work has revolved around militainment and military aesthetic. While my work doesn’t always appear to be in direct conversation with the military or the entertainment industry, their hidden agenda and symbolisms continue to influence my work.
I am drawn to both formal and conceptual aspects of art making. Often the work is developed as a combination of painted and sculptural form. Each piece is treated as a singular object that carries its own symbolism. Once a composition has been created, I try to think of multiple ways I can attack the same idea using the same composition but through altering parts slightly. These series aim for familiarity, as the viewer understands the repetitive compositions or formal choices as recurring symbols.
By referencing military aesthetic such as WWI era razzle-dazzle camouflage, as well as current military decorations and weaponry in combination with bright colors and simplistic geometric shapes I hope to evoke a conversation regarding the contemporary cultural construction of heroism. My work’s intention is not meant to criticize our service men and women but to question the way in which such definitions of glory are reflected in children’s war games and movies, and thus perpetuating current cultural conditioning.
Program Director's Department
Graduate School of Art
Williams, Riley, "Militainment" (2018). Graduate School of Art Theses. ETD 105. https://doi.org/10.7936/K7FX78XN.
Available for download on Sunday, September 24, 2045
The process of painting allows me to grapple with past traumatic experiences and transform them. I see my failure to adapt to civilian life as a tormenting struggle that makes even the simplest of life’s tasks a chaotic challenge.
In my search for something that could bring me few moments of peace, I have found creating to be cathartic; more specifically painting has become an emotive outlet that empowers me. This empowerment allows me to expel both the emotional and physical weight that my inability to adapt has placed on my shoulders.
It is through this journey I have come to see that our society not only embraces our military but also glorifies its actions. My intention is not one to deter from the much-needed embrace but to questions the way in which such definitions of glory are reflected in children’s war games. By referencing WWI era razzle-dazzle camouflage, as well as current military decorations and weaponry in combination with bright colors and simplistic geometric shapes I hope to evoke a conversation regarding the contemporary cultural construction of heroism.Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7FX78XN