Date of Award

12-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Art

Committee Member

Professor David Detrich, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Assistant Professor Beth Lauritis

Committee Member

Associate Professor Valerie Zimany

Abstract

While utilizing plastics, my primary motivation as an artist is to understand how this material can disassociate the body from its natural environment and its subsequent effects. In my work, I speak of three spaces that are not distinct but that overlap each other. I analyzed my interaction with plastics as an intermediate space. This space of transition and domestic use is explained through sculpture in several modalities. My first sculpture is a fragmented installation. My second is a video projection of my body within a sculptural surface and a filmed documentation. My third sculpture is participatory and includes a performance inside of one of my sculptures during my show presentation. So, why knit plastic? I experienced the negative aspect of plastic which is a toxic material that has physiologic effects. I manipulated this material in a way that differs from everyday use. During this time, I began to analyze how my body interacted with this material in different ways and in different places. Working the plastic through the technique of knitting capitalizes on the idea that plastic is a futile material to use in weaving. Also, weaving, knitting, and stitching tend to be traditionally associated with a domestic woman's activity. Often what is produced is used as or as an extension of oneself. The earth is currently covered with plastic which is affecting new generations that will not see the end of this material. Also, less developed nations like my birth country, Honduras, are incapable of carrying the burden of this technology and its waste. With this context in place, I started knitting not as an act of recycling but as an act of resistance. During the exhibition, the viewer expected to perceive the transformed plastic and the time invested in the labor of weaving it. I wanted the viewer to wonder why this plastic is knitted for something non-functional in a traditional sense. The soda bottles are evident in a careful observation and the gallons of milk are observed in the domesticity of the doily-like objects. The bubble is a metaphor of isolation: “we are each inside our own plastic bubble.” This is an indirect and subliminal way to attack plastic as a material without promoting it or exalting it. Instead, I resist it!

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