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- Redefining Beauty
- In an effort to continue the conceptual and aesthetic growth started in graduate school, I have produced a body of work dealing with the relation between the fragmentation of the figure and the self-perception of beauty. I produced twelve prints that have been exhibited at Cora Stafford Gallery. I have analyzed the body of work conceptually and formally and chose to discuss six pieces in a problem- in lieu-of-thesis. My work and book references informed the content of the paper. I divided it into three chapters; Introduction, Description of the Work, and the Conclusion. Within the body of the paper the paragraphs are sectioned into descriptions, methodology and intent of the six pieces. I went into detail of the process and content and addressed the questions posted in the Statement of Problem.
- Nature By Design
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Organic forms representing nature, but not particular species, are combined with elements signifying attitudes toward the natural world with an emphasis on North American culture. The viewer is encouraged to consider human effects on the environment. Aquarium Night Light and Trophy both refer to the human tendency for commercial exploitation coupled with the creation of nature images we sometimes seem to prefer over the reality of the natural world. Reliquary metaphorically connects traditional religious connotations associated with saints' relics to both a biblical injunction to use anything we needed from the natural world and our contemporary belief that exposure to nature can have beneficial effects on human mental, spiritual, and physical health.
- Discovering the Parameters of a Successful Piece: While Developing a Body of Work that Represents My Passion for Clay and My Enthusiasm for Life
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Chapter I describes the purpose of the project, which was to develop a body of work that exhibits all that I am at this point in time. The questions I presented to myself were the following: 1. A successful piece is defined by what parameters? 2. What visual qualities indicate my passion for clay and my enthusiasm for life? Chapter II lists and explains the five parameters of a successful piece, which are composition, firing, mark making, color contrast, and movement. Furthermore there is an explanation on how these parameters visually display my passion for clay and my enthusiasm for life. Chapter III is a summary concluding that by discovering my five parameters of a successful piece I now understand the elements that I am searching for in my work. My work will grow from this understanding as long as I have the same passion for clay and enthusiasm for life.
- Eplucher Les Oignons (Peeling the Onions)
- My creative intent is to connect with viewers at an emotional level. My chosen metaphor is “Peeling the Onion.” The implication of the metaphor is that understanding is achieved after one looks below the surface and views the underlying “layers.” The challenge is to find images that are personally interesting and also connect with the viewer. At times the creative process proceeds in linear manner and at other times it seems to take on a life of its own. During my search for a balance between the literal and ambiguous, I explored the circle, the spiral and the sphere. Printmaking offers unique opportunities to produce evocative imagery. Drawing is the basic tool I employ to define form and my use of printmaking processes allows for evolving the image over time. The immediacy and spontaneity of my drawings is combined with a methodical approach to image development. Exploring the spiral, sphere, circles and the metaphor “Peeling the Onion” has provided me a means of giving a form to my concepts and hopefully a connection with the viewer.
- An Examination of American Sideshow Banners as Folk Art, ca. 1920-1960
- This thesis redresses the lack of scholarly attention paid to painted circus banners produced in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century by exploring the extent to which American folk art painting scholarship, methodologies, and objects can be used to articulate the meaning and significance of banner painting. This study expands the disciplinary treatment of banner painting by introducing domesticated art as a means of representing non-academic art produced in the U.S. The thesis also presents a model for exploring banner painting after identifying traditional American folk art painting methodologies, which fail to investigate banner painting style, format, and artistic training associated with banner work.
- Striving for Amy: A Personal Aesthetic
- The first chapter of this descriptive paper outlines a problem, proposes a solution and poses three questions for me to answer after completion of research. The problem was to bring an emerging ceramic style into all of my pieces rather than just the few I have mastered. The solution was to create three sets of new forms and make them repeatedly until they boasted the sought-after style. Chapter 2 chronicles the research of creating, morphing, detailing and finally mastering these new forms. Chapter 3 summarizes the experience and answers the three aforementioned questions: (1) What is my personal definition of a successful pot? (2) How does the undulating style affect the functionality of the pot? (3) How does the Campbell tartan glazing complement or detract from the pot's form?
- Unity: When the Two Become One
- Jewelry has been used as a gift exchange between lovers for many centuries. It has been conveyed in a variety of forms to symbolize the meaning of love. This body of work is associated with glory of love, of sexual experience between lovers representing the idea of unity when two parts become one unit, not only in the physical sense, but also in the psychical sense. The works were divided into three series including three pair of rings, two pair of lockets, and five pair of necklaces. The erotic expression has been addressed on every piece in an abstract way counting design motifs, material used, and interaction within the piece itself. Moreover, each piece has romantic meanings and essential aspects as a symbol of love.
- Preconceived Notions of Scale Relationships
- I proposed in my paper to use juxtaposition of unexpected scale in my sculpture, with the expectation that it would create an unexpected tension that is visually stimulating to the viewer. I achieved this by creating disharmony in scale between an object that is perceived as miniature and an object that is perceived as gigantic within each sculpture. I then asked three questions of these sculptures: Was I able to alter the viewer's preconceived notions of the miniature and the gigantic through the manipulation of the size relationship between two objects within each sculpture? Which of these preconceived notions of the miniature or the gigantic became dominant as the main focal point in each sculpture? Did this intentional use of disharmony in scale stimulate enough of my interest to continue investigating this idea? I wrote about three sculptures that had been made for this project. The first was Manifest Destiny, a seven and a half foot tall bronze piece depicting an oil drill with a platform in the shape of the state of Texas. On the platform a gigantic bronze figure rides a miniature bronze donkey across the platform. The second bronze sculpture I wrote about was Gulliver in Suburbia; standing seven and a half feet it depicts a large bronze figure trapped within a miniature ship that stands on stilts. The last piece a wrote about was I've Outgrown This One House Town, a seven foot three inch tall bronze sculpture which depicts the frame of a house with a frame chair and bed inside. On top of the house a bronze figure sits on the roof as if it were riding a horse. I judged all three pieces to be successful and they answered all of the questions affirmatively.
- Abstract Moments of Art Found in the Ordinary
- This paper is an experiment using digital video to locate and identify the abstract in everyday life and nature. The abstract moment occurs when the image that is captured by video loses its connection with the original context, allowing the images to be viewed in an entirely new way. The abstract moment is initiated by a transformative instant, that instant in which perception is altered and the viewer sees the intended content of composition of light and sound. The project contains four digital videos that record the artist's progress and interests.
- The Exploration of Surface and Texture on the Inside and Outside of My Sculpture
- After generating work for many years in an intuitive, “truth to materials” mindset my intent was to explore the interior possibilities of my sculptural forms and relate these if possible, to the exterior. Alongside this exploration of the interior I introduced surface texture and color onto both interior/exterior surfaces. In some cases the work had undergone a change, which lent new meaning and provided new relationships to exist between the interior/exterior of my sculpture. Not all of the work was satisfactory to me, though I feel there were many positive results from work that may not have been successful. I found that the integration of the interior/exterior dialogue into my existing work provided new meaning allowing new relationships within the work that had not existed previously.
- Imitating Nature
- Through my art I seek to communicate the continuing cycle of change that unites all life forms. I had to find methods of presentation and surface that would enhance my sculptural statements that I had begun to address. Utilizing salt, wood and low temperature sagger firing, resulted in softer, more natural appearing surfaces. These surfaces complimented and completed the organic forms with which I was working. The problems encountered in presentation were rectified by alternately contrasting the surfaces of the presentation with the surfaces of the pieces, while utilizing forms that echoed the natural forms of the pieces. The opposite approach also worked well, using natural presentation materials to create a sense of unity, and geometric bases for contrast. These methods resulted in an increased sense of energy, unity and completion in the work presented.
- Rasa: Serenity, Valor, Love
- The focus of this thesis is the conveyance of moods through clothes, the communication of feelings through fashion. The thesis illustrates how clothes speak, and the tools used to communicate a visual message. Three moods are used as examples: Serenity, Valor and Love. The thesis presents the author's design ability, creative personality, cultural background and technical skills. Sources of data range from personal experience to books on Cultural Studies, armor and mask making, Indian/ Asian dance and theatre, fabric design, fabric manipulation and websites on related topics. The chapters discuss background information of the author and the topic of research, and present each ensemble created to support the thesis. Through design details and photographs of the nine ensembles, the thesis demonstrates different techniques of achieving visual communication through clothes.
- Sequence without Uniformity
- The inspiration for my undergraduate body of work is derived from my fascination with Henri Matisse, Jacob Lawrence, and the Impressionists. I suddenly became captivated with the Impressionist movement and the independence of abstraction. I set into motion a series of paintings and drawings featuring random African-Americans and African society representatives in vibrant color and abstracting forms, and was specifically concerned with altering the form outside of the realistic area. While in graduate school, I began to think about how the transformation from realism to abstraction combined with the conception of mortal to the immortal. I worked through ideas to see exactly where these views began, and where they would take me as an artist. Almost immediately I experimented with random figures found specifically in the N'debele culture in South Africa. In addition, I incorporated abstraction and expressive marks within the figure and slowly introduced cut paper, flat imagery and abstraction with the realistic figure. This became very challenging but I was determined to unite these ideas successfully. More recently, my work has concentrated on the essential elements that have influenced my work as an artist, which recedes to childhood. The main elements most prevalent within the work is rhythm and space. I learned to use the musical rhythm as an instinctive reference point, as well as exploring issues of space and solid areas of flat color, thus I strived to unite all areas together to create an integrated composition.
- Eye of the beholder: Children respond to beauty in art.
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The purpose of this study was to determine if beauty was important to elementary age children when exploring and making aesthetic judgements about works of art and to determine the criteria elementary students used in judging beauty in works of art. This study also explored beauty as a concept that could be used as an organizing idea for designing a thematic unit with the purpose of introducing elementary students to postmodern art and issues. One hundred and sixty first grade and fourth grade students looked at 20 pairs of art reproductions and picked the artwork they considered the most beautiful. The criteria elementary students use for determining beauty in artworks was found to be color, realism, subject matter and physical appearance of the subject of the work of art.
- Issues of Interpersonal Bonds
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In this work, sections of bodies are joined with sections of other people's bodies in order to form a new whole. Adding or subtracting relationships can many times be uncomfortable and strange, which I depict in my invented individuals based on the phases of family, such as birth, death, marriage, divorce, and the acquisition of new forms of family. This work questions issues of the family in terms of its definition, whether biologically or culturally constructed. I am creating hybrids by separating body parts from the whole and then recombining them to form a new individual. These images are a result of thinking about the possibilities and changes that people go through as a result of the new growth or loss of relationships. This work is intended to bring awareness to the way in which people relate and families become more blended.
- Surfacing the Void
- Surfacing the Void is an exploration of surface design in relationship to the topic of voids. For the purpose of this paper, two types of void were addressed: shelters and hulls. The theme behind the sculptural works dealt with negative spaces as an analogy for the voids in people's lives. The goal was to find a way for the surfaces to elicit an emotional response from the viewer that correlates to the impression of either shelter or hull. Keeping this in mind, each experiment was approached with how to best represent the meaning of void being manifested. Imagery was applied during different states of the clay: wet, dry, and fired. Methods of exploration included texturing, drawing, stenciling, stamping, incising, decoupage and covering the surfaces with textiles.
- Loss of Innocence
- Loss of Innocence uses sculpture, two-dimensional imagery, and text to explore the moment when children lose their innocence or realize their mortality. In the introduction, I explain that there are many factors, such as age and personality, which determine how children will deal with traumatic events in their lives and the duration of time that must pass before they move past the event. Often, children will combine childhood fantasy with random facts to create their own satisfactory explanation of what has happened. In my problem in lieu of thesis, I discuss work that I created with these thoughts in mind. I explore how the sculpture, two-dimensional imagery, and text work together to convey the emotion of innocence lost.
- Distant Proximity: Mapping Presence and Absence
- Chapter I presents my background as an artist born and raised in Romania, and describes my artwork in connection with my interests and experiences. Maps and traditional Romanian art are important sources of influence. The questions in the statement of problem deal with the way ideas, references to various elements, and installation impact the artwork. Chapter II discusses the installation at the Dallas Visual Art Center, the creative process, and how the artwork addressed the questions in the statement of problem. Important points are: a step into three-dimensionality with the tall, freestanding pieces painted on both sides, the use of topographical contours in creating shapes, issues of form and content as expressed in the painted surfaces, and the interaction of the individual works in the installation.
- Social Intercourse
- This thesis explains the stories and concepts behind each piece that was discussed on the opening night of my MFA Exhibition. The works, entitled Film Noir, Brains, Trains, and Beer, The Boy Next Door, Peterbuilt, and 10-50, H-1, was discussed more specifically and in greater detail. Speaking in public has always been a difficult task, especially on the subject of my art. My images deal with the highly intense subject matter of violence inflicted onto others as a result of human social behaviors. These vile social behaviors are translated into colorful and humorous lithographs, etchings, and drawings. These images are displayed to the public for individual interpretation. This thesis discusses audience interpretation before the literal meaning is revealed, how much information should be revealed to the viewer, and how this information manipulates the aesthetics of the piece.
- Replacing the Horse
- I have been working with horses as imagery for about seven years and my problem in lieu of thesis continued along this vein by researching the roles of the horse in history, specifically mobility, and developing work that creates visual links between the past and present roles of horses. I am a printmaker and the work involved in the project consists of prints that use layers of related images and juxtaposition of unrelated images to accomplish my goals of cohesion between horses and the machinery that has replaced them. As the project developed the links between past and present society became my impetus rather the horse and mobility, and my future work will respond to this.
- Viewers' Choice
- This paper documents the execution and exhibition of a group of oil paintings exploring themes of spectacle and the construction of reality in contemporary American society. The paintings are composed of figures and fragments of text originating in stills taken from television news and reality TV. This paper describes and assesses the paintings according to a set of questions developed by the artist at the inception of the project. Various strategies employed in the execution of the work are analyzed and compared. The contribution of this project to the field of contemporary visual art is evaluated via comparison with other art, past and present, expressing similar concerns.