Date of Award

Spring 5-30-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Brian Ulrich

Second Advisor

Anne West

Third Advisor

Lindsey Beal


A woman enters marriage, guided by a rich lineage of strong, lifelong marriages, yet is also caught in a web of misplaced ideals and expectations deferred by culture. She carries the weight of these histories, as well as her own expectations. Throughout history, women have been minimized and shoved into their own separate, domestic “spheres.” Future generations inherit these traumas, which in turn affects how they experience life. When a woman realizes her marriage is not what it should be, that she has been turned into a flat and unfulfilled version of herself and ultimately files for divorce, the weight of all those expectations and her disappointment in her perceived failure has the potential to crush her.

Using photography, installation, video, embroidery, and the creation of photographic objects (through embroidery and alternative photographic processes), this work examines my own expectations upon entering marriage and my current values. The ideals and beliefs I once held dear about matrimony and family disintegrated very shortly after my own nuptials. I struggled with the weight of having broken a positive lineage. I am now trying to allow for a new formation as I reclaim my space and identity.

My own childhood led me to fixate on my ideas of what a successful and happy marriage is. Memory is influenced by photography and passed down via family histories. These stories and images often take the place of actual recollections, influence visions of our lives, and how we present ourselves to the world: as happy people with fond pasts to look back on. How do we examine those memories and histories after experiencing a related trauma? The Knots on the Underside of the Carpet investigates my own life by revealing the knotted underbelly that we do not usually see or acknowledge, and exposes the surface as a false veneer—one that society has bought into, but that ultimately falls flat.

Included in

Photography Commons



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