Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Craig Taylor


Jarrett Key’s thesis book examines their journey towards understanding their freedom through three lenses: Survival, Transformation and Celebration. Through pointed excavation of the oral histories and lost stories of their upbringing in rural Alabama, their work presents critiques of the historical conditions that sowed the seeds of their contemporary personhood, while simultaneously creating spaces to celebrate beauty, joy, and survival. The objects Key builds perform their freedom and are crafted from materials that reference pieces of their own personal narrative. Highlighting works from Leaving the City (oil paintings on cement), the Hot Comb (forged black steel sculptures), and Slave Ship/ESP (oil on canvas and cement) series, Key’s thesis unpacks their artistic process and objects, while sharing those voices that inspire their practice.

Included in

Painting Commons



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