Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Alex Strada

Second Advisor

Steven B. Smith

Third Advisor

Jinying Li


Fossil Morphology is a multi-media art project based on my research on the coal mining area in East Pennsylvania. It consists of a film, a series of photographs, and a sound installation. Together, the three works form a dialog among each other about the ecology and aesthetics of the region’s coal mining landscape and its underground.

For a long time, coal, as an raw material for mass production, has been understood and examined from its economic values and social meanings. The gradual abandoning of this material by our industry therefore leads to the seemingly inevitable decline of the coal mining activities, the deceleration of life in the coal town, as well as the uncultivation of environment. As a basic element of Nature, coal is re-examined and re-thought in this group of work so that it can be re-situated within the network of our eco-system, re-aligned within its inherent connection with humans, and re-oriented as a crux that sustains a pre-symbolic resonances with life.


View exhibition online: Leah Zhang, Fossil Morphology

Included in

Photography Commons



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