Newest Draft September 2012
Possible Thesis Titles
For some time now I have been interested in the idea of potentiality. At first I was focused on what restricted potentiality: societal, environmental, and individual constraints, though now I am thinking about stereotypes. At the same time I have been exploring what form potentiality might be and have decided to stick with an object deriving from nature and life, a sort of seed. I experimented with construction techniques in clay. Then I began to think of the figures as individual characters and started to incorporate skin graphs, a technique for adding texture. I photographed the work in a variety of situations. I took my ceramic pieces for walks, to school, kept them in the car just in case, but it was difficult to compose the objects in situations that were not kitschy. I kept trying not to make the figures appear as garden art, Easter eggs, or the Travelocity gnome. I arrived at a point where I was no longer satisfied with the form itself. Potentiality needs a way out, an opening. My ceramic figures are closed. I have come up with another possibility! My new vision is to create soft sculpture characters using fabrics, fibers and notions relating to each character. The form will be similar to the clay pieces in that it will be derived from the seed, yet I will create an opening so that the form can sprout thereby activating growth. I see them hanging in an installation so that the audience can walk in through and around them, touching and bumping into the characters.
Statement of Purpose
I have been challenged with the idea of potentiality from many perspectives throughout my life. I’m thinking of potentiality expressed as possibility, in a positive way. Sometimes I have experienced potentiality as rising with constructive encouragement, or in other circumstances confined. The heart of my thesis is to comment on how some groups of people are perceived as having no potential.
In high school I clearly recall the day my guidance counselor pulled me over to tell me the stinging truth that I was not reaching my potential. She was absolutely right. In other circumstances I was judged unlikely when I was entirely capable just because of where I was from and how I appeared.
As a BPS teacher for sixteen years, I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of students. My students arrive from various backgrounds often considered by others as underprivileged or lacking in some ways. Several are surviving unimaginable circumstances. Upon arrival some of my children believe that they won’t succeed, or can’t succeed because they have already been judged so by society. I see them as bursting with potential.
Influenced and motivated by my own personal experiences and the attitudes of my students, I want others to see that all walks of life have potential.
I have chosen the format of art-based research to express my ideas because I learn by making, and I want to reach a broader audience.
Research Questions and/or areas for artistic inquiry
The essential question I am researching is what is potentiality?
How is potentiality conceived?
What does the form of potentiality look like? How do you shape it? How can I bring an abstract idea to life?
What is the form, shape, color, texture, and scale of potentiality?
What restricts potentiality?
How does potentiality flourish?
How do you nurture potentiality?
Where does potentiality exist?
In what scenarios/situations can find examples of potentiality be found?
Is potentiality self imposed, self reliant, self-activated?
Who restricts potentiality?
When is potentiality ripe? Does it ever die?
How are people stereotyped?
How are different stereotyped groups clothed? What kinds of fabrics, fibers, notions could represent them?
Since the start of the MSAE program I have been researching the work of a variety of artists. Most of the artists are contemporary artists, many of which are installation artists who work in various media. I have also been looking at ceramic artists, photographers, and fiber artists. My attraction to these artists is for various reasons. Some of the work that has always appealed to me is related to nature, yet other works of art are compelling for completely different reasons. I identify with Serra’s list. I love the idea of Whiteread’s interior of the house with the shell removed. The reality of Goldin’s photographs resonates with my own life. I’m attracted to Saville’s skin and Chihuly’s colors and textures. I love the simplicity, yet loaded work of Liab’s pollen and Ai Wei Wei’s sunflower seed installations. These are just some of the artists that have influenced me.
Tim Knowles, Basia Irland, Miya Masaoka, David Bowen, Myoung Ho Lee, Michel Bussien, Kathryn Miller, Scott Griger, Richard Serra, Jenny Saville, Wolfgang Liab,
Rachel Whiteread, Nan Goldin, Maya Lin, Ai Weiwie, Dale Chihuly, and Andy Goldsworthy
In my aesthetics class, I had the opportunity to read Morton’s book Ecology Without Nature Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics in which he presents his theory of Dark Ecology. His theory deconstructs the idea of nature arguing that we are in an ecological state. He wants us to see ourselves as embedded in nature with all its’ ugliness, and not to hold nature on some pedestal or romanticize it. His philosophy has changed my view of myself, a building, the city, the trash, everything, as a part of nature.
Morton, Timothy (2007) Ecology Without Nature Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press
Doczi, Gyorgy (2005) The Power of Limits Proportional Harmonies of Nature, Art and Architecture. Boston London: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Adam, Hans Christian (2008) Karl Blossfeldt The Complete Published Work. China, Taschen
Data collected for this project will include a variety of methodologies consisting of heuristic and art-based research. Heuristically I have been and will continue to explore the phenomenological idea of potentiality by journaling my experiences, listing, and paying closer attention to my students and the people around me. From the art-based research methodology, I will examine the work of other artists, experiment with media, and immerse myself in the process of making art.
Diagram of the proposal
My vision is to create a site-specific installation depicting potentiality. I want to create three dimensional fiber seed like forms clothed abstractly in stereotypic fabrics, fibers, and notions demonstrating each stereotyped group. Each character will have an opening where possibility is beginning to expand, free to grow. The figures will be hung from the gallery at various heights and intervals between each other. The audience will view the work by walking in, around, and through the installation. Hopefully bumping into and touching the figures.