Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
A memory palace is a mnemonic device that facilitates recollection by putting memory, that slippery substance, into a strictly structured mental geography. It is advisable to use a real place with which you are intimately familiar (perhaps your childhood home) as the scaffolding for the compartmentalization of whatever mental objects require organizing. Other objects, sensations, or atmospheric conditions are used to heighten the efficacy of the system—memory #1 may be found in the junk drawer in the kitchen, at dusk, nestled between a box of safety pins and a bundle of rubber bands. I am interested in the way this mnemonic system imbues mind with matter and vice versa. With each object that I make, I hope to further collapse such divides, whether between subject and object, painting and sculpture, or play and whatever the opposite of play is (hard to say). My work, like the memory palace, investigates the ways in which material is transmitted, utilized, and preserved. Memory, on a personal as well as a cultural scale, seeps from the apertures of my objects or clings to their surfaces like residue. The histories we are born into, the identities we embrace or reject, our desires, and our ways of being are betrayed by the objects that we surround ourselves with. These abstractions become especially legible in the ways we categorize, organize, and tend to said objects. In my studio, the uncanny is grafted onto the banal, and the natural is wed to the artificial. I work to upend and re-orient the normative structures that unfold as the material manifestation of ideology, perverting the rules of these structures and searching for ways to make sense of their violence, contradiction, and absurdity.
Vander Veen, Scott, "Cultivar" (2023). Masters Theses. 1139.
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