Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Cross, Sydney A
Detrich , David
McDonald , Todd
My personal experiences with nature lead me to have a very primal relationship with wildlife and landscape. These experiences elicit primal internal responses of fear and wonderment. They peak my imagination in a way that nothing else does. To effectively visualize this, I create prints and sculpture that present my personal mythology and symbols.
The use of mythology has historical precedence. The use of myth helps us make sense of the aspects of life that are ethereal, intangible and difficult to understand. To visualize my experiences in nature, I create network of personal mythology and symbolism based on personal experiences, Native American myths, and literary narratives. Possibly akin to the motivations of the ancient artists that drew animals on cave walls, I have a basic need to study and know wildlife, and I do that through the creation of personal mythology and art. In this body of work, I use my own personal mythology to visualize the spiritual aura of the wilderness, the afterlife, connection with ancestry, and the strange ways it fuels our imaginations. Alongside artists like Charles Burchfield, whose paintings give landscape a vibrant energy, and Leonard Koscianski who visualizes animals in a mythic and powerful way, my work embraces and makes visible the power nature has on our imaginations.
My experiences lead me to think of animals as mythic beings extremely in tune with their environment with supernatural abilities to disappear and reappear. My mythology helps me to make sense of these powers that I have witnessed so many times. My studio practice makes a more solid connection to ancestry, positing that recording these acts and experiences is something that has always been important to us, peaks our curiosity and imaginations, and has gone relatively unchanged for thousands of years.
Brantley, James, "ANCIENT TRADITIONS AND PERSONAL MYTHOLOGY: AN IMMORTAL CONNECTION TO WILDERNESS" (2012). All Theses. 1569.