Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Legacy Department

Visual Arts

Advisor

Detrich, David

Committee Member

Hung , Christina

Committee Member

Lauritis , Beth Anne

Abstract

Can a work of art care for someone? Can it address a need for comfort or love? My research focuses on simple gestures and actions that seek to fulfill these questions. This research spans a wide array of sculptural and performative strategies in order to give breadth to these goals and to access a multitude of audiences in different contexts. The work importantly bridges both traditional art venues as well as more public venues in order to participate in multiple conversations pertaining to the role of socially engaged art practices. By utilizing both ends of the locational spectrum for the placement of the work, the projects are able to pressure the conversations within the institution of art by incorporating ideas of love into the academic dialogue, while also encouraging and challenging those outside of the art world to activate an attitude of love in their daily lives. I generate experiences to engage the audience's mind and body, whether by making a tea bag, as in the case of The Sipper's Digest from 2012, or occupying a chair provided as an anonymous gift, such as in The Chair Incident from 2011. In other projects such as Love is a Verb from 2012, the audience is challenged to enact positive living through action rather than merely through words. Each project is rooted in the idea that we are corporeal beings with a need for something that transcends our physicality, and that our bodies are the conduits through which we experience these gestures as well as being the spaces in which we have the capacity to act in life-giving ways. Through these modes of working, audience participation is at the center of each project, with the goal of promoting an exchange that is based on gifting without the expectation of reciprocity. Rather than dictate audience participation, I seek to provide conditions in which opportunities to serve someone other than myself not only exist, but multiply and take on new formations.

Included in

Fine Arts Commons

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