Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2017

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



Ten-der-ness. The title of this document defines the word, because one can easily forget all the meanings of a word. To be tender is to be compassionate and kind but also can mean to be in pain. “The quality of being easy to cut or chew” is my favorite definition; because to me that says that to be tender makes you vulnerable to being swallowed by reality. It’s a common saying that without suffering we would never know compassion but, within tenderness, compassion and suffering exist simultaneously in a ten letter word. Within my thesis I am exploring tenderness through material and thinking of this vulnerability as a transformative power which is key to a complex reading of the feminine. Each section begins with a different poem of mine that corresponds with the titles, concepts, influences, and work discussed. I begin with a dream that connects myself into the work through biography, language, and an ethereal and emotional connection. One section examines the influence of Agnes Martin and her writings, while talking about the importance of my own poems. The sections that follow dive into the material and process of the work, the curtains, the Belly pieces, and the gestural gravity pieces, as well as, the influences of literature, color, and feminism. Overall this document produces a tender portrait of my practice.


English (en)

Program Director

Patricia Olynyk

Program Director's Department

Graduate School of Art

Thesis Advisor

Buzz Spector

Committee Member

Jessica Baran

Committee Member

Jessica Baran

Committee Member

Andrea Stanislav

Committee Member

Eric Shultis

Artist's Statement

Ephemerality and delicacy are qualities that I explore and invent in my work. The subtle characteristics of the different material is emphasized through frays, folds, cracks, or transparency. The material I use veils and reveals layers of meaning in each gesture, object, color, and installation, from industrial tape delicately draped over dyed felt to a protruding canvas fraying over time. By emphasizing the materiality of chiffon, natural light, and operating within a minimal language, my practice includes personal experiences and emotion without becoming explicitly biographical.

The body, reacting physically and emotionally immediately to an experience of beauty, is what my work intends to achieve. Words follow the work and I write poems after a piece is created, not necessarily about it but how and what I was feeling during the process of its making. Translating my ideas into poems, objects, and images I work with transparency and color in painting and sculpture to create objects that are mysterious and sensual. Writing becomes an instrument for creating the work and reflecting on the work. Materiality reveals content in the work, quietly communicated within folds, transparency, and color. The combinations build up visible and invisible layers to create a slow reveal to the viewer. The vulnerability of the material also shows power by transforming the material itself into something more— an experimental poem.

Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K79885G5