Date of Award

2-1-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Departments/Programs

Art

First Advisor

Andrea Blum

Second Advisor

Carrie Moyer

Academic Program Adviser

Carrie Moyer

Abstract

The content of this essay is a reflection on my practice as an artist. A summary of text includes an analysis of my attraction to certain materials such as drywall, cabbage juice and coconut oil, all materials are the extensions of my memory, intention and pleasure. From warm memories of bathhouses and the flesh of others to managing illness at home, my artwork distills a lived experience into material reality. These materials take the shape of sculptural networks that serve as biographical biomes. The architectural and organic components of the work are sourced from my own experience and the surreal writings of French novelist, Jean Genet.

Jean Genet has expanded my ideas about aesthetics and desire. In a single statement he pairs the sweet smell of wisteria with an acidic description of sexual initiation. Reading him has helped me contextualize my work within a continuum of queer male experience and aids me in envisioning bolder forms of sociality and sculpture. I draw from his many floral references as a type of ingredient list, assembling them throughout my sculptures as a way to interject their metaphorical associations to the body, death and love. The placement of these signs within the porous surface of drywall or cedar, affects them, changing their form and making them fragrant. Though some of these floral references are not directly decipherable, it is my hope that the work performs in a primal manner similar to Genet’s exclamation, "I shit out my guts in his presence" where "wilted flowers would grow.”

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