Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art
I construct large-scale, layered, three-dimensional paintings that symbolically allude to both body and landscape. I attempt to use my hands and embodied self to form a space of contemplation for the viewer as she walks alongside the work, experiencing it. The work exists in the realm of the sensed and the sensorial and creates both spaces of excess and of lack that correlate with my thinking of philosophical notions of the grotesque and the void. In a way, I blend elements of psychoanalysis and art making together. I discuss the origins of the term, uncanny, as one of the few times Sigmund Freud acknowledges the female bodily orifice as a symbolic site. I also focus on Bracha Ettinger’s theory of the Matrixial to parse out the idea of the womb as a symbolic site within my visual work.
My work intertwines multiple iterations of fear, holes, and the hidden within its form. The focus on these formal elements relates to its conceptual framework of phobias, orifices, and the female as symbolically hidden or forgotten. As part of this conversation with the visual representation of femininity, I am also interested in poetically unraveling social boundaries and in opposing the prescribed notions or phobias about the feminine, both within traditional psychoanalytic discourse as well as within art discourse. Ultimately, my paintings explore sensorial experiences and psychological states. While contemplative in character, I hope my work also offers a quality of tension and contrast between simultaneously alluring and phobic experiences through the surfaces and colors, and between hills and valleys or voids that map the large-scale, landscape like territories of my three-dimensional paintings.
Program Director's Department
Graduate School of Art
Dunham, Damaris, "The Darkness Needs to Cry" (2020). Graduate School of Art Theses. ETD 143.