Title

Solastalgia

Date of Award

12-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Legacy Department

Ceramics

Committee Member

Valerie Zimany, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Beth Lauritis

Committee Member

David Detrich

Abstract

My work explores the empathic connections between humans and the physical landscape and investigates the phenomenon of psychological distress associated withclimate change. I use memories of my itinerant shifts between landscapes to createabstracted ceramic sculptures; for these I reference mountain and glacial forms, anextension of my own experience growing up in Alaska. Ceramics is a medium whichreadily records the hand of the maker while making forms permanent through the firingprocess. I use this aspect of the material to freeze moments in time where the clay splitsand cracks, implying a slow collapse. This reflection of time’s effect on materials elicitscorrelations between the temporality of flesh and ice and stone. Combining materialssuch as lumber, plastic, and polystyrene with the ceramic creates an environment thatreferences the sublime in nature and its corruption due to the waste of industry. Usingthese material contrasts and metaphors, my sculpture work aims to engage viewersemotionally while allowing for a broader discourse regarding the changing climate.

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