Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Art and Design
Christina A. West
John Decker, PhD
In my experiences with caregiving, I was confronted with the vulnerable physicality of infant and elderly bodies. In Haunt and Hold, I draw on two memories in which I observed the physical weakening of my grandparents’ bodies. Intensely visceral and existentially overwhelming, these moments compelled me to reevaluate my material existence as well as a number of family traditions that have complicated my spiritual assumptions.
Using the “Catholic Imagination,” the Medieval memory palace, the uncanny, and the abject as theoretical and conceptual frameworks, I make sense of these experiences and narratives. I create sculptural works that serve as reminders of the body, reflect on the sensations I experienced while caregiving, and re-contextualize personal family traditions involving the body. While the work is deeply rooted in my subjective experience, I intend to create uncanny encounters for viewers by presenting them with materials and scenarios that are visceral, unusual, and evocatively familiar.
Laxalt, Michelle, "Haunt and Hold." Thesis, Georgia State University, 2017.