Date of Award

12-2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Legacy Department

Visual Arts

Advisor

Vatalaro, Mike

Committee Member

Feeser , Andrea

Committee Member

Wrangle , Anderson

Abstract

The fragmented figure is a compelling image. To present the figure in fragments is to place the viewer in a position of recognizing their own mortality and fragility, eliciting an emotional response that goes beyond an aesthetic appreciation of the body as form. The Venus de Milo, arguably one of the most well recognized works of art in all of history illustrates this idea perfectly. There are plenty of complete sculptures of the goddess from the same period, but the armless Venus de Milo stands as the epitome of grace and beauty above the rest, and any attempts to restore the sculpture have failed miserably. From this we can deduce that, in the words of art critic Dr. Tessa Adams, '...fragmentation had been transformed as the agency of sufficiency, and thereby the agency of the sublime.' Presenting the fragmented figure somehow became a way to reveal strength and beauty.
My work makes use of the fragmented form, both abstract and figurative, to explore the suffering, fragility, and mortality inherent in life while alluding to a transcendence over those very things. Holes on the pieces can be perceived both as wounds and as passageways, implying various narratives of suffering in which the figures exist and drawing attention to the interior of the forms while calling into question the significance of what is held inside. The interesting thing for me is when the wounds and openings become more than evidence of suffering and pain but portals through which light can enter, bringing a form of symbolic transcendence to the figures in much the same way that suffering, once endured, can reveal and even produce strength in a person's life.
In a personal journal entry, Antony Gormley states that his art '...comes from the same source as the need for religion: wanting to face existence and discover meaning.' At its core, my own work arises from the same desire: to provide a place to examine the suffering we all experience and how it can be overcome. Whether it is through wounds, passageways, missing limbs, or bandages, the incomplete and damaged form speaks to us with an emotional resonance, reflecting the scars and pain we all sometimes feel. Ultimately my goal is to meet the audience in the midst of their own troubling circumstances and hint at the fact that there is hope despite the suffering, that in shared pain we can find solidarity and strength.

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Fine Arts Commons

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