Date of Award

Spring 6-6-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Rachel Berwick

Second Advisor

Jocelyne Prince

Third Advisor

Matthew Spellberg


I am currently navigating between the concepts of body, material, space, and surface. I’m exploring ways to document and understand the full extent of my physical body in relation to the boundary and extent of my personal space. Each of my works displays strategies to understand my body and personal space. My intention is to confidently advocate for myself, particularly when my presence is questioned. At a time in which my body and presence are inherently political, I’m finding an urgency in how I articulate what my body is, the spaces my body navigates, and the surfaces to which my body corresponds. My work and ideas are contending with the notion that my body will always extend beyond itself. I will always deal with outward perceptions based on initial reactions to how I look. I’m navigating the relationship between my body, the perceptions of my body that I can’t control, and the response to my body in relation to surface and space beyond myself. This is a navigation of self. A navigation that becomes a negotiation once an invitation extends beyond myself.

Personal space: My body is inhabiting space all the time, every day, all day. My body collides with others, changes over time and leaves traces. My personal space is occupied by my body, by the built environment around me, and by the presence of others. My personal space extends beyond my physical body. It is the ethereal boundary which is unseen but noticed as a means of protection. It is private extension of myself, ever changing with each encounter.

I am in the process of understanding my personal space and realizing my needs to obtain a comfortable and sustainable way of occupying space. This includes questioning what an invitation into my personal space looks like. My work explores different methods to extend invitations, which, by design, are small or intimate encounters. In doing so, I’m investigating the transition from private to public. I am using these encounters to understand personal space. Personal space is more than a means to set boundaries, it is a way in which self-empowerment occurs beyond the physical body once acknowledgement and respect has been understood and placed within a space.


View exhibition online: Ashley Harris, An Invitation

Included in

Glass Arts Commons



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