Defense Date

2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

Department

Fine Arts - Fibers

First Advisor

Susan Iverson

Abstract

I use the body to investigate the ideas of morality, mourning and mortification. I look towards costume history, traditional Catholic rituals and themes in 19th century literature to feed my obsession with transformation, reconciliation and communication through dress. My making focuses on feminine objects and materials. Lace, veils, undergarments and hair adornment speak not only of womanhood, but also of the duality of human nature. Lace speaks of purity and sexuality, it reveals and conceals, it is humble, yet gluttonous in its ornamental overindulgence; lace is the ultimate dichotomy. I use it as a potent symbol to represent the duality of body and soul, right and wrong, good and evil. Historically, neglected, disheveled and unbound hair was a sign of mourning and penance, a physical representation of one's sin and sorrow. In my work, hair comes to represent an uncomfortable binding of one's self to one's alter ego, while helping to serve as an act of penance and mortification. As I make, my hands hopelessly yearn to create beauty from burdens; the repetitive and penitential process of stitching creates a metaphor for my longing towards perfection and purification. My use of video, photography and installation work to provide a unique experience for the viewer, for here they are invited to enter these imaginary worlds of wonder.

Rights

© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2012

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