Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2014

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



Inspired by the dichotomy of beauty and the grotesque in relation to the female body, I set out to both find a balance and interrupt the balance between the two with my artistic practice. Defining beauty as something more significant and meaningful than a pretty image and the abject as something that inspires repulsion, I sought to find connection between the two. Through creating abject textures surrounding nude female forms, I discovered an underlying trauma latent in the artistic expressions of my work. The process of creating abject works of art has lead to catharsis and posttraumatic growth in my personal life and artistic practice. Through the work I have found beauty in the abject and abjection in beauty.


English (en)

Program Director

Patricia Olynyk

Program Director's Department

Graduate School of Art

Committee Member

Jamie Adams

Committee Member

Jamie Adams

Committee Member

Jessica Baran

Committee Member

Susan Stiritz

Artist's Statement

The abject evokes a powerful emotional response. As such, it can be an incredible tool to invoke internal dialogue and challenge preconceived notions. The body as a representation of the self and culture is often decorated and celebrated through art and societies as youthful and clean in appearance; Opposite of that is the grotesque body. When the corporal and abject is successfully utilized as an artistic motif, the viewer's subconscious prejudices of what is vile, disgusting or taboo is overridden by an imposed curiosity to more deeply examine the piece, rather than the conditioned response of disengagement. Sometimes the beauty or a curiosity of a piece allows transcendence of the terror within a subject.

My work is a representation of the abject human form deconstructed for aesthetic consumption in hopes to transcend the gaze. Through materials like handmade flax paper, gauze and latex layered on canvas and other surfaces, my work often resembles fragmented rotting flesh. Actual parts of the body, like hair, are added for a more literal presence of the body. Most of the work hangs from the wall like a disassembled cadaver. The surface of the materials both attracts and repels the viewer, finding a balance between beauty and the abject. Some of the work is more subtle suggesting a residue of violence and sexuality but to me it was a form of catharsis to destroy and mend the female form.

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