Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
I work hard to keep language out of my studio. Language reminds me of my mom’s voice, people telling me what to do, not having the right accent, critiques, criticism in general, mis-truths, and never being good enough. Language is the material of my thoughts, and most of my thoughts, or the ones on a constant loop anyhow, are all those voices over and over again.
Painting is where I get to be me, with myself, and in my body. Painting is my home, family, refuge, and best friend. I’m not looking at myself from the outside, no one can fucking tell me what to do, and I don’t have to explain myself.
Naturally writing a “thesis” feels counterintuitive and is absolute last thing I want to do. It’s a messed up hierarchy, where after two years of material investigations and dialogue, “schooling” is only complete with a written component. It feels like beating a dead horse or killing the whole damn thing.
I’ve thought of a lot of ways to do this part of my education without actually doing it: 1. Commission essays about my work 2. Conduct interviews and use transcripts 3. Provide a quick abstract stating my position followed up by a curated reading list 4. Write an exhaustive list of all the voices in my head that I have to shut down before I paint 5. Type up the notes from my Can’t Stop Coyote book 6. Include other manifestos or make my own 7. Smoke a final pack of cigarettes one last time and “write a thesis” whatever that means 8. Try to get an exemption 9. Submit the exemption letter as my thesis.
The bottom line is I’m not ready to write and have no desire to. As I lay here on my stomach and think about forcing myself to sit, reflect, and name stuff, I feel like I want to kill myself and smoke till I die. I don’t know what the following pages that make up my “thesis” will contain. It might be linear, impressionistic, or fragmented. They might be my words or the words of others. It may describe my paintings or not. My compromise is that I am willing to try, for the sake of my “education”, to explore some other possibilities for language in relation to my practice.
Worrell, Tala, "Can’t stop coyote" (2022). Masters Theses. 905.
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View exhibition online: Tala Worrell, Can't stop coyote