Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 40 million people report feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress as the world moves at an increasingly rapid pace and faces unprecedented challenges. However, many ignore these negative thoughts and fail to acknowledge them as a serious issue. My art, which shares my own experiences, creates safe, cathartic places for viewers to think about their own emotional experiences. Crucial to this process is my use of daily objects and the creation of individualized, participatory, and multisensory experiences.
My art relates to daily life and the negative emotions that we experience daily. I use familiar, daily objects in my art to incorporate personal narratives that engage with viewers. Beyond each viewer’s own experience with the object, my found objects are a lens through which viewers see a self-portrait of an artist. Since daily objects already have many connotations with which they are associated, I use daily objects to enrich conversations about mental health, and build intimacy and connections between myself and viewers.
My artworks hope to reveal every person’s individuality in a multi-layered way based on their unique interaction and interpretation of my work. In order to create an individualized experience, I generate participatory work based on a multisensory experience to evoke a viewer’s empathy. Empathic exchange with viewers creates a moment of shared personal experience between the artist and viewer. Through my artwork, I observe audience members react and respond to my work differently, revealing their individuality and varied experiences as they all respond to the same, familiar object.
In my thesis, Art and Empathy: Self Discovery in a Dark Forest, I will explain how my art relates to the experience of daily life and emotional experiences brought on by events such as death, isolation, and other hardships, by discussing the familiarity and accessibility of daily objects in my art. Furthermore, I show how engaging with my art encourages people to deal with emotions in meaningful ways.
Program Director's Department
Graduate School of Art
Lee, Younser, "Art and Empathy: Self Discovery in a Dark Forest" (2021). Graduate School of Art Theses. ETD 153.
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