Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Yasi Alipour

Second Advisor

Amy Sadao

Third Advisor

DJ Hellerman


Relief holds both an emotional and a physical connotation; both the lifting of a burden or emotional baggage and the description of an object with forms that protrude from a planar surface. This thesis explores the ways in which these connotations can co-mingle and inform each other through the creation of hand-carved wooden reliefs. The relief becomes a vessel through which an emotional connection can be formed between viewer and maker by way of a shared sense of labor.

Wood, a material grown from the earth, is transformed into an entirely human-created form, the car; embodying the just-as-human desire for freedom and individualization through the construction of a privatized space, perfectly designed to accommodate human desires. The car can thus act as a bridge between private and public spaces and model a division of the interior and exterior both physically and psychologically.

Through short vignettes of personal narratives situated within a discussion of their larger cultural implications, I hope to understand how vulnerability, shame, and empathy can be used to forge a connection with a viewer through their interaction with an art object.



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