Alexis Day MFA Visual Studies Thesis 2019
Unraveled: A Visual and Material Investigation of Perception and Its Influence on Individual and Cultural Identity
Weaving together the ideas and concepts of psychologists, theorists, authors, and artists, Unraveled forges a relationship between architectural spaces, female experience, and individualization. Through this synthesis, Unraveled illustrates the slipperiness of perception and memory, and discusses the influence these mechanisms have on both individual and cultural identity formation. Through analysis of texts by Carl Jung, Jaques Lacan, Gaston Bachelard, and Robert Smithson, I demonstrate the relationship between architectural spaces and human psyche. I discuss how they influence one another and argue for the metaphorical strength of rooms and structures to represent aspects of self and identity. Through an exploration of the work of Roxane Gay I connect the contrivance of staging and decorating a room, to the act of performing gender or projecting personality. Additionally, through a brief overview of female characters from fiction novels, I expand on historical female experience and discuss the shifting of social expectations of women over time. Addressing my works materiality, I propose that my use of bricolage and the label tapestry both metaphorically mirror the individualization process. Finally, through a discussion of my art in relation to the works of various artists, including Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Gregory Crewdson, I place my practice into a contemporary art context. This paper and the artwork within it, were created through the lens of my own perspective, using imagery, materials, and content from my life, however, the aim of this work is broader. I’m striving to familiarize the reader with the fragmented structure of perceived reality, and encourage considerations into the influence constructs, indoctrinated ideas, and past experiences have on identity creation and self-narrative.