Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art
In this study I examine ideas of nature, human nature, and artificial nature that are relevant to my work. I explain that the natural realm is a physical presence in the world and that it is also a cultural construct. My work is concerned with metaphorical representations of nature and I contextualize my artwork within the work of modern and contemporary artists who create artificial representations of nature that reference landscapes. I relate that I am disturbed by our current culture’s inharmonious relationship with the natural realm and explain how my work opposes our cultural anthropocentrism and the collective assumption that the natural realm is mostly valuable because of its material worth.The natural realm, to me, is essential to humans’ physical and emotional well-being because the phenomena of our sensorial environments inspires our metaphors, symbols and analogies that allow us to communicate more effectively. My work allies itself with the philosophy of Deep Ecology that teaches that all living beings on Earth are valuable, interdependent, and that a respectful co-existence with these beings enriches our own experiences.
In later sections I explain how artificial nature reflects human nature: more specifically, our concerns, thoughts, and emotions. Romanticism and Deep Ecology teach us that the natural realm can enhance our self-understanding. I compare and contrast my artwork to other contemporary artists’ artificial representations of nature that reflect Romanticist or Deep Ecology leanings.
I support philosophers of nature who believe that humanity’s distance from the natural realm is dangerous. My work employs several strategies to help us see nature in a light of reverence and respect. I anthropomorphize nature in my work to reveal individualized concerns regarding our current cultural conditions. My anthropomorphization recognizes the interconnectedness between humans and the natural realm, our spiritual and physical similarities, and works against our cultural anthropocentrism that allows us to dominate the natural realm. In addition to discussing my art within the meta-topic of artificial nature, I also discuss my artistic strategies that allude to Romanticism, the Kitsch Aesthetic, the Grotesque Body, and the Carnivalesque.
Program Director's Department
Graduate School of Art
Zapata, Vivian, "Artificial Landscapes: Reflecting Interior Worlds" (2013). Graduate School of Art Theses. ETD 115. https://doi.org/10.7936/8w9g-4f17.