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MFA Thesis Report / Manifesto
MFA Thesis Report / Manifesto

Description: Page 6 of 29

‘What was that like?’ 6


I often employ a system that allows me to cast the internal space of a slip-cast figurine, rendering it visible as a tangible form. As the initial figurine is removed through a systematic process, the interior space achieves a physical form of its own and separates itself from its counterpart. This separation is severe. It is as severe as the abstract form that is revealed to be the cast interior of the figurine. Shrouded in vagueness, only a few discernable clues are presented to indicate the origin of the abstraction. However, through a didactic indication (i.e. an artist’s statement, a title card, etc.) a gap is formed and a partial scenario is established influencing the viewer to confabulate the gap created through this shared process. The viewer may ultimately begin chasing what it is (the cast interior form) through both thought and memory as they reach to grasp SOMETHING they think they know or in effect long to know (the unseen point-of-departure). My work is often concerned with the urgency of this maneuver. It presents the viewer with a complex issue of merging the visible with the invisible in an effort to discern a shape defined by an absence.

Despite the inward / outward complexity proposed through this methodology, the method employed to achieve the end is conversely straightforward; it is rigorous, but basic. A plaster mold is used to produce a hollow, slip-cast figurine; the figurine is employed as a clay mold; a casting agent is introduced into the cavity of the figurine; and finally, the casting is released from the clay mold to reveal the interior space as a tangible form. The visual result of this process is one of reduction and
abstraction. (Further substantiation made available through a Technical Statement, viewable under APPENDIX I.)

I would like to suggest that method in general, is never as simple as it reports to be. Formal accounts rarely indulge us with a comprehensive description of the minors, the detours, or the BACKGROUND NOISES (APPENDIX II). When we focus exclusively on the question of methodological practice, we are forced to omit the least methodical places in our work, the places where our discourse is unauthorized by virtue of its unruliness (Gordon 40). We fail to reveal the superfluous clutter and clamor that dually manifests itself in the same locale. We exclude learning of the potential inherent in such distractions that could easily exert their influence upon us, regardless of where we believe our attention truly lies. Perhaps the key methodological question of one’s practice should not be ‘what method have you adopted for this research?’ But rather ‘what paths of your practice remain unseen?’ (Gordon 41). In line with this report, I would prefer not to write upon my methodology exclusively, but rater along those uncertain lines demarcating my studio practice; lines that may lie still in the periphery, but are there nonetheless.

‘I should see the garden far better,’ said Alice to herself, ‘if I could get to the top of that hill: and here’s a path that leads straight to it – at least, no, it doesn’t do that –‘ (after going a few yards along the path, and turning several sharp corners), ‘but I suppose it will at last.’ 7