Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2020

Author's School

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts

Author Department/Program

Graduate School of Art

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art

Degree Type

Thesis

Abstract

In this thesis, I compile a series of fragments consisting an analysis of my artwork in the gendered contexts of landscape, self-identity, mythology, and philosophy. I develop my concept of a “queer mark” in my art that serves as a form of queering, a disruption of visual and conceptual cohesion. I form a picture of how our contemporary selves are influenced by our gendered understanding of the landscape through the analysis of philosophical, artistic, and mythological concepts of creation. I see my sculptures as an atlas to an alternative means of understanding identity, a queering of these historical and exclusionary means of making identity. My focus on using alchemical processes of ceramics and geological material to represent an ever-becoming identity ties my sculptures to the landscape and subterranean world of our origins.

Language

English (en)

Program Director

Patricia Olynyk

Program Director's Department

Graduate School of Art

Thesis Advisor

Meghan Kirkwood

Studio/Primary Advisor

Arny Nadler

Studio/Primary Advisor

Patricia Olynyk

Committee Member

Brandon Anschultz

Committee Member

Peter Benson

Artist's Statement

Is all matter intrinsically queer when it is in a state of transformation? This question is the foundation of my making process, and my decision to work with sculptural mixed-media ceramics. My sculptures work to reframe visible, historical, and contemporary queerness using material and process. Ceramic processes take a raw material and vitrify it using heat. I see the role of transmutation in geological materials as closely aligned with the fluxing formation of identity.

I take the ceramic process and incorporate fragments of stone, steel, and residue from previous sculptures to create conglomerates that question the role of artificial and natural, the made and the given, and the primordial and the evolved. As a genderqueer artist, I question how we “orient” ourselves in the landscape – we use landmarks like cairns, horizons, and poles. My sculptures resemble core samples, stacked-rock cairns, mountains, and caverns. Installed, they become landmarks of their own, objects of record, (dis)orientation, and memorial.

How are queer relics, fragments, memorials, futures, bodies, and experiences formed? In creation myths and philosophy worldwide, the landscape and subterranean world has been relegated to the feminine, or the primordial. “Mankind” developed the world with the application of his knowledge, leaving the connotations of the feminine primordial landscape as something to be exploited or depleted. By connecting the fluxing state of geological matter to queerness, I hope to reveal the hidden power dynamic implied by the existence of a gendered landscape, and the influence of this gendering on the orientation of our identities.

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