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Artist books and boxes are intrinsically dualistic. They compel the viewer to interact in an intimate and revealing way; but at the same time the outer surface forms a protective barrier between the viewer and its contents. Through my work I attempt to reconcile two opposing aspects of my personality; the need to control my environment and my appreciation for unexpected outcomes. Artist books and boxes, via assemblages, become, in my work, a metaphor for cognitive dichotomy.
Drawing inspiration from assemblage artists like Paula MacGregor and Joseph Cornell, I explore the relationship between objects and their contents. I use cast-off fragments like bark, leaves, rocks, and animal remains in combination with living plants to allude to the cyclical nature and transformative quality of all living things. The natural elements I combine with found objects suggest an ambiguous narrative when they are removed from their usual context. This juxtaposition also represents for me the idea that opposing states of transformation and statis exist simultaneously; the natural elements symbolize a metamorphosis and the found objects represent stagnation.
Ideas of restriction and protection; and growth and stagnation have always interested me because I have impulses toward control which can be stifling. Dyeing and making paper, as well as the layering of an etching plate are meticulous processes that express my restrictive aspect, while the unpredictability of working with natural elements appeals to my mercurial side.
The contradictory formal and conceptual components coexisting in my work represent that we often experience two opposing conditions existing in a constant, rhythmic ebb and flow. I seek to communicate that ideas can conflict and coexist leading the viewer on a path of self-actualization, a resolution of inner duality.
Nicole Hand-Bryant; Sarah Gutwirth; Chris Lavery; T. Michael Martin
My thesis exhibition was a study in duality. I used artist books to symbolize that two conditions exist simultaneously; chaos and order. The books represent order and organization and their contents represent unruliness and disorder. Natural elements juxtaposed with found objects suggest an ambigeous narrative that encourages the viewer to investigate the content. My exhibition consisted of seven works. They were created using handmade paper, silkscreen, etching, bindersboard, wood, ceramic, and natural and found objects.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Kaler Combs, Amanda, "Out of the Ash" (2017). B.F.A. Practicum Exhibition (ART 498). 8.