Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
The impulse to make work from the residue of real life has been called many things throughout art history. In my thesis, I use some of these methods to discuss generative modes of creating work. I talk about Lucy Lippard’s proposal for a “way of making,” Disidentification, Camp, Appropriation, Termite Art, and Hito Steyerl’s call to create art that addresses the present in imaginative ways. Each process relies on a commitment to being in the world and building something on its uneven ground.
In Liary I discuss the relationship between my drawing practice and fiction writing. Since subjectivity is dependent on one’s experience with gender, class, race, and sexuality, drawing from one’s life cannot create a universal experience or even an accurate portrait of the artist. However, it can create valuable and emotionally resonant fiction. I use Judith Butler’s idea of gender performativity to talk about a conception of selfhood that consists of both an internal view of oneself and the inescapable pressures of one’s environment. In a world where nothing is a given, the only thing that can ever be entirely true about a piece is the feeling that the audience walks away with.
Finally, I talk about how I find content for my paintings and specifically analyze the symbols in my piece, Smoke and Mirrors (2020). I discuss the cognitive dissonances that serve as a starting point for work and ways painting serves as a place to ask philosophical questions about existence.
Pazdar, Kiernan, "Smoke and mirrors" (2020). Masters Theses. 485.
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