Award Date

8-1-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Art

First Committee Member

Dave Rowe

Second Committee Member

Catherine Angel

Third Committee Member

Susanna Newbury

Fourth Committee Member

Shai Yeshayahu

Number of Pages

41

Abstract

Object Language

In the current era we in the Western, developed world, have almost universal free and uninhibited access to almost every piece of information in existence. Increasingly, regardless of the source, material presented to us as fact has become increasingly suspect. Together, these two things mean this endless stream of data is useless. The question is how to combat this decline, how to reverse the process of a meaningless, constant data-dump. The answer lies in the language used to communicate information. Language is the means by which we communicate complex ideas and knowledge from person to person. Language is something ubiquitous in our society, we see it, we hear it, it is so constant we do not even consider it as a part of the concepts it is used to convey. Altering language is one of the subtlest ways that information can still be obfuscated.

Sculpture has the capability to reframe its own context. This is the great privilege evidenced numerous times by such works as Duchamp’s Fountain and enumerated by prominent art historians. Transforming something into sculpture implies that the purpose of the work is, at least in part, to reframe the subject matter of the piece. Translating language into sculpture is an effort to reframe this system. The process takes that which is recognizable and readily consumable and obfuscates it, putting barriers between us, the reader, and the idea expressed. That which is freely given is valueless, easily discarded, and ignored. By transforming the content into sculpture the idea is elevated, made enigmatic, even esoteric. The ideas in the context of this show are not freely given. They have been rendered inaccessible and there must be effort expended to understand the message. These ideas must be earned. This makes them more valuable and much harder to ignore or discard.

Information is the most powerful tool we have, its possession saves us from the mistakes of the past, it is what guides us through our present, and it is what ensures our future. When information becomes valueless it is altogether too easy for it to be taken away; we lose the most important tool we have in self determination.

The supplemental images are of the art exhibition entitled Object Language, produced by the artist, that this thesis is a companion to.

Keywords

Art Theory; Medium Specificity; Sculpture

Disciplines

Art and Design | History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Theory and Criticism

Language

English

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