Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

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



In this thesis I discuss my material practice as it relates to a history of still-life painting, and the cyclical recurrence of assemblage in western art history. The traditional still-life object is examined through the lens of my material-gathering process at estate sales. Objects reconstituted at these sales are the impetus for an investigation of the still-life object’s connection to magic, the mutability of meaning, and the fading American middle class. The use of these objects for assemblage sculptures in the studio prompts a discussion of the history of assemblage and found-object sculpture in Dada, Merz, Surrealism, and contemporary practice. I also compare critical eras in twentieth-century history with present day to form a hypothetical link between unstable environments and ephemeral works. As my sculptures are disassembled and their components scattered, I speculate on the future lives of the objects I once gathered, and confront the critical role of documentation.


English (en)

Program Director

Patricia Olynyk

Program Director's Department

Graduate School of Art

Thesis Advisor

Meghan Kirkwood

Studio/Primary Advisor

Lisa Bulawsky

Studio/Primary Advisor

Michael Byron

Studio/Primary Advisor

Cheryl Wassenaar

Committee Member

Heidi Kolk

Committee Member

Heidi Kolk

Artist's Statement