• The body in question: MFA Thesis- Sculpture

      Gounaris, Eleni (2016-05)
      Disillusion only begins to scrape the surface of the ways in which we regard our relationships with others of a sentient nature. Our values of life are blatantly torn from their inherent jouissance by a repulsive irreverence. By isolating ourselves, we disregard those around us and lose focus. Our human and non­human connections, as well as the value of life of other species, passionately inform my work. I encourage others to consider the source of our commodities. They derive from the experiences of other beings who we may not even know are behind the curtain. I depict ambiguous representations of life through sculpture, sound, video, and mixed media. The primary challenges that inspire me are how we accentuate the irrefragable prevalence of speciesism, and help people empathize with others in order to contribute to a more compassionate society. By stripping away layers of meticulous thought, I arrive at conclusions one can only encounter through a moment of intermission. I am not afraid of suffering; it is an issue that encompasses all forms of life. The suffering for which I choose to speak is that of non­human animals, because their duress does not always communicate in a discernable, or human, dialect.
    • Captain's proLOGue : MFA Thesis - Painting and Drawing

      Weaver, Jana K (2014-05)
      By developing a greater awareness of the subtle changes outside and inside of myself, can I come to better understand my interdependence with all humans, flora and fauna? Developing a practice that incorporates these subjects, I hope to establish a greater reverence for how my existence has come and continues to be, as well as a deeper understanding on how my own personal agency functions. In this, I expect to become a more responsible caretaker of myself and all that surrounds me. Ultimately, my goal is to provoke greater curiosity and reverence surrounding the workings of our inner and outer world so that we, and consequently our world, will continue to flourish.
    • Cherished cavities & intimate hollows: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Itter, Katy (2015-05)
      I am interested in the way we form relationships in a current digitally enhanced society and what those relationships mean to us. I use casts from my own body as well as digital media in my work to create spaces that ask the viewer to identify comfort zones and boundaries. This allows me to force an interaction with the viewer that is both invasive to their space as well as my own. I aim to create space that builds tension between the viewer’s personal boundaries and mine.
    • Climate of sight : MFA Thesis - Metal

      Zitzow, Kim (2014-05)
      Climate of sight is an archive that performs the question "what does rust want?" Transformed from a prompt generated by a proclivity toward the material itself, the aesthetic investigation began permeating other materials, processes and ways of thinking, knowing and feeling. A disused limestone quarry, terrain both unfamiliar and alive situates the inquiry and subtly pervades the gallery. Over time materials have been urged to crystallize amongst themselves, compile to articulate acts of attention, to become tools for seeing and containers for holding while digressions unexpectedly revel.
    • Emergence: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Haeick, Courtney (2021-05)
      Vulnerability, resilience, and empathy are emotional states that are displayed in the action of creating my work as well as the outcome of the sculptures throughout time. My work is ephemeral, as it changes, the material’s vulnerability is revealed. In my metal, cyanotype, and video performances there is a focus on everyday actions, the ‘gaze’, as well as movements and gestures related to dance. By researching performance and dance history, I make connections on how specific events influence performances and how personal emotions eventually factor into the art form. As part of my practice, I imprint my body onto a sheet of steel with coconut oil and use a torch and vinegar solution to rust the bare steel. The female body emerges and appears distorted to the viewer by the ephemeral qualities of oxidation on metal. People don't often associate metal to be vulnerable or rust to be beautiful. However, in my metal works, rusting steel is a beautiful medium to visualize emergence and growth. Through the process of making and watching my work change throughout time, I find the personal connection of watching my pieces grow and change while my mind and body are going through a similar process.
    • Freezing time: ice as a metaphor to duration in performance art: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Dotan, Lital (2022-05)
      We are in 2022, in the Hudson Valley, NY. I have been a performance artist for over two decades now, and in my current performance work I am freezing time, metaphorically, yet also very much physically. In this text I examine phenomenological aspects in performance- I look at Bergson's idea of materiality in time, Heidegger's idea of object-at-hand (with a focus on it's sound), and ideas of repetition in performance. I will also look at artists who addressed the temporality and quality of ice, as a weather art movement beginning in the Fluxus well into contemporary examples. The questions that inspire this research are trifold, as an open letter to performance and it's addressees: Can time as duration be made visible, for example: ice?; What infrastructure(s) can support time-based performance, for example: mold making?; Can a performance archive be a process-based mechanism, for example: buckets?
    • Hitting the nail on the head: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Elmadany, Adam (2021-05)
      In my thesis exhibition, Hitting the Nail on The Head, my sculptural works examine how the ethics and morality of American society are shaped through our words. The idioms and sayings in the United States’ lexicon have a direct correlation to the development of our thoughts, actions, and understanding of the world and its citizens. Through my sculptures, I task the viewer with examining their use of common phrases like, “When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do”, and if it excuses insult based on lack of understanding with images of Hollywood icons ignorantly appropriating various elements of Black culture in America, in the form of postcards. In my video, “One Bad Apple Spoils the Barrel”, I present the viewer with categorical evidence that the commonly used alternative phrasing they have been hearing on television following tragic events, is an inversion of the truth with decomposing apples displayed in a time-lapse video. In my monument, “Thoughts & Prayers”, I confront the viewer with an assault rifle mounted to a mountain of 27 children’s bookbags covered in the candle wax to challenge the the 2nd amendment and what the years of political inaction has cost us in innocent lives.
    • How to Steal the American Dream: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Monk, Andy (2017-12)
      The work in my MFA thesis exhibition, How to Steal the American Dream creates a rare opportunity for honest examination and discussion of a political topic in the era of “alternative facts” and “fake news” by using visual strategies to incite curiosity in the viewer. My work persuades viewers to start from a place of curiosity, so their guard is down as they discover the underlying political subject matter. Using bright LED lights and clean, shiny aesthetics, the work, entitled "Gerrymandering: North Carolina Districts 1-13" and "Gerrymandering: Maryland Districts 1-8", presents the bounding shapes of all the US congressional districts from the states of Maryland and North Carolina, which have been deformed and contorted through centuries of extreme partisan gerrymandering. Two sculptural works in the center of the exhibition represent different societal structures: one standing as a critique of contemporary American society, the other positing a utopian reimagination of an alternative way in which a society might be organized.
    • I'm good, you?: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Cunningham, Amy (2016-05)
      I am enchanted by the absurd and the asinine. My work inhabits the precarious space forged between reality and mockery; this is the intersection from which I create. My thesis work creates an experiential representation of the evaded issues of modern communication. Utilizing a blend of the real and the satirical, I am able to create work that distorts the viewer’s perception by blurring the distinction between what is factual and what is parody. I create absurd, yet relatable situations that invite the viewer in for a chuckle, but also promote deeper self-reflection. I prefer to use a variety of methods and media. I have used styrofoam to transform virtual phenomena into tangible forms, sound to charm yet brainwash, manipulated found objects for familiarity but disturbance, and installation to integrate these multi-faceted experiences.
    • In between: MFA Thesis - Ceramics

      Oh, Eunyoung (2017-05)
      My work reconstructs my childhood memories of longing to value moments of the past. I investigate the intersection of my heritage, yearnings, and life in the present. I build clay sculptural forms, using Korean methods of tiled roof construction. Making each piece by hand, I preserve the individuality of each tile. The long process enables me to be self-reflexive, to collect memories, and translate nostalgia into an object. Each roof tile represents a fragment of longing and various memories are materialized in different forms and structures created with a variety of techniques, processes, and materials. Though the act of remembering is intentional, the unique construction of my memories is beyond my control. Similarly, I intentionally create an object while allowing the process of firing in the kiln to create new idiosyncratic work. Recreating objects, patterns, and designs with roof tiles conveys my personal connection to a spatially and temporally different self.
    • In//Access//Able: MFA Thesis - Metal

      Huckins, John (2014-05)
      I manipulate rods of steel and bronze in a way that is in conflict with the materials’ own properties. Through my work, through effort, I show the relation between a body in action and the material’s ability to be manipulated, distorting its processed, stock identity. I transform a bar of milled steel’s linear orientation through careful forming, cutting, and welding, to re-assemble a bar that is no longer straight. For example, a window grate where all of the vertical, straight bars have been tied and twisted, creating an opening in a structure meant to deny access. I choose to make these window grates for their ability to evoke dialogue about access to spaces. Institutions geared towards knowledge, faith, and government are erected to house privileged individuals. These institutional structures affect our lives and shape our knowledge. These institutions are the most inclusive clubhouses in western culture, and segregate based on cultural hierarchy and class systems. A window grate acts as both a barrier and a reminder of one’s place in the world. In domestic architecture, a window grate can also imply the same distinction of class. However, this implication of the domestic setting reaches a wider economic spectrum. A window grate can protect any person or family from home invasion; however it does not provide protection from all outside aggression. Through the abstraction and subversion of the window grille or window grate format, I ask the viewer to reconsider practical and ornamental function. Venetian blinds so strong they would stop a bullet because they are made from steel; a set of steel bars over a window frame that are exaggerated, swooped, and tied into an absurd bow. These call into question ideas of access and denial: who is allowed inside, who must be kept out, and why. Whether you are in, or out, I am giving you a window to access issues surrounding social and cultural institutions, and who is able to have a voice in them.
    • JAKE QUEST: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Demenkoff, Jake (2018-05)
      Objects made by humans contain within them human characteristics. For example, chairs, like people, have legs, arms, backs, feet. Bottles have necks. Clocks have hands. People and the objects we make are unified by a common design language. What started as separate interests in industrial design, furniture making, and the human condition merged to form my practice. Humor is also a critical part of my work. A combination of strict proportions, abrupt transitions, and juxtaposition of objects and form make for a quirky sort of tension. Working with wood, as well as incorporating everyday objects and materials, I create silly, yet somewhat serious, anthropomorphic, furniture-like, autobiographical figures.
    • Listen to them: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Naganoma, Megumi (2019-05)
      “Listen to them.”, represents a group of twenty-one rape survivors. I know them personally and they have confided in me the details of their attacks. These are all people that I have relationships with: friendships, family, ex-coworkers, colleagues, etc. The fabrics, colors, and other adornments chosen for each cone reflect the personality and some physical qualities of the individuals portrayed. The experiences of their assaults are also present on these standing quilts. Small, almost hidden books containing the survivors’ words are sewn to the bodies, revealing a literal remnant of the trauma. Stitching these forms by hand takes time and patience. For me, this process, is an analog to healing.
    • Low-key Solidarity, Strategies for the Alliance: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Gallira, Ana Azzue (2017-05)
      Giving space for viewers to cultivate curiosity for other people through whimsical and lighthearted objects and interactive experiences grounds my research. I make work that confronts the reality that most human relationships are lacking empathy, an overlooked connection necessary for survival. Practicing the imaginative leap into another’s experience provides a platform for global change.These connections are in need of nurturing and my work provides a welcoming environment to combat social constructs that contribute to the dehumanized “other”. Participation, aesthetics, and public accessibility to the artwork is a method for gathering curiosity and projecting that interest into direct action.
    • Lumen - entering: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Pazmandi, Katalin (2015-05)
      The primary question that inspires me is how to create a sacred space in an outdoor environment where people would feel more connected to their own spiritual essence. To be connected means that you live true to yourself and also take part in the collective evolution of consciousness. I am interested in the nature of dying and reincarnation. I also incorporate nomadic and shamanistic elements of various ancient traditions into my work.
    • Made in the USA, When gnomes need to clean their homes: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Leu, Maxine (2020-05)
      My work, Made in the USA , focuses on the environment, communication, and identity. Using critical humor along with dark playfulness, I open doors to difficult conversations relating to issues of overconsumption and the culture of waste in America, through the lens of my own awareness of cultural differences. The works are based on my experience of being a foreign person in America. I choose familiar, everyday objects and commonly considered waste materials as the raw materials for my work and for their potential to initiate cross-cultural, nonverbal communication. Then I transform those materials into situational, humorous, and metaphorical artworks that double back and question our relationship to the commonplace things I started with.
    • Moments Materialized: MFA Thesis-Ceramics

      Morton, Rebecca (2017-05)
      Through movement, I am aware that my mind quickens my body and my body invigorates my mind. Movement, for me, is a response to a particular place in time similar to an improvisational dance. I’m interested in large amounts of volume in clay and the elation I feel during the making process within my own body. Excitement comes from working at a larger scale. The physicality of the material awakens my body. I create large, hand-built sculptures that reference movement, lightness, and curves. Delicate, soft creases, and folds inform my attempt to create continuous flowing sensual forms. Cycles seen in nature, and especially fertility, are often my foremost focus. I aspire to portray these moments and simultaneously suggest ongoing ceaseless motion.
    • Mushroom shed: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Heidel, Amanda (2019-05)
      Mushroom Shed, is a ten year community based durational project space for cultivating edible and medicinal mushrooms. Mushroom Shed is an experimental laboratory for educational workshops, a place to meet up for discussions about nutrition and self care, and a lab where visitors can explore art and the environment. To me as a researcher, Mushroom Shed is a collaborative community artwork. In this essay, I will examine the mushroom life cycle as a metaphorical model for this type of work. Conditions, substrate, spores, hyphae, mycelium, and fruit body will be the component parts for understanding this practical framework.
    • Noesis, the inner nature of body expression : MFA Thesis - Ceramics

      Fortin, Christopher (2014-05)
      As we progress through time, language is generated and adapted through the ever-changing structures of society and technology. Like all languages, non-verbal communication has adapted and changed through time and culture. A single gesture can mean a dozen different things, yet many of these traits have stayed constant over human existence; it is this universal visual presentation that is our language of emotion.
    • Obscura: MFA Thesis - Sculpture

      Mattison, Sarah Reese (2014-12)
      From the architectural element to Microsoft, windows are analogous to notions of the portal, the frame, and the screens of film, television, the computer and mobile phone. They represent a passage to other worlds, new ways of thinking and ideas, a frame for voyeurism, spiritual insights, as an escape from the banality of daily life, as well as a medium for inner reflection. The window’s function is paradoxical: providing a physical separation from inside and outside while still enabling cross examination, existing as both an internal and external form simultaneously. They are usually transparent but also have a reflective surface. They close out and close in. Windows frame both virtual and physical realities thus challenging notions of time and space. These dualities are at the heart of my thesis question. Through my thesis, I ask, “where does the external end and the internal begin?” Where do you end and I begin?” The entry point for my thesis project, Obscura, was an exploration of the physical and metaphorical expressions of window. Physically, I took the elements of a window and undressed them one by one: the frame, glass, coatings, screen, etc. Through this process, I was also attempting to dismantle the metaphorical concepts of beyond / outer / other / exterior / separateness by highlighting the tangled hierarchy of an absolute binary: without an inside, there is no outside, no exterior without an interior, and vice versa. The concepts exist simultaneously and are entrenched to the point where one does not exist without the other – a chicken and egg dilemma. Which comes first, inside or outside? Mother or child? Time or space? You or me? How are these signifiers nested together in an interwoven whole?