Title

Animus

Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Art and Design

First Advisor

Jill Frank

Second Advisor

Jeremy Bolen

Third Advisor

Christina West

Fourth Advisor

Craig Drennen

Abstract

Animus explores the uneasy intimacy between human bodies and nature through soft sculpture, short stories, photography, video, and a deadpan tone. An image of a frozen chicken defrosting inside of a sauna is countered by trail camera footage of hungry birds feeding on a foot that’s been life-cast in suet and birdseed; latex sheets hang like flayed skin, mimicking the texture of the trees’ surfaces on which the sheets were cast. The work posits that human attempts to command and contain nature can be compared to the shifting tectonics of a sexual relationship--in which there is play between dominance and submission--or to the struggle between fate and free will. Influenced by the Greek mythologies in Ovid’s epic poem, Metamorphoses, the work shows a particular interest in the possibilities for radical transformation found in the wilderness, where instinct wields greater influence than identity.

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