Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

School of Art, Design and Art History

Advisor(s)

Sukjin Choi

Lisa Tubach

Robert Mertens

Abstract

My MFA thesis exhibition, “growing process” is inspired by many occurrences in my life, and is especially influenced by my childhood memories. The artworks represent my loneliness and how I face and solve problems, which helped me mature as an adult. This monograph explores the shift and thought process in different life stages.

I join a long tradition of ceramic production in China by using clay as a meaningful material. Clay may contain soil, carcasses and leaves, which decompose in the earth. There is a saying in China that “fallen leaves return to the roots,” which suggests a return to one's origin. When a person dies, we bury the body in soil. Soil provides nutrition and breeds new life. It represents a process, a repetition, or a rebirth.

The process of making a ceramic work is to make the structure by hand, which will always leave my finger prints on the clay, like a memory. Letting the clay become bone dry is a process of loss. Firing clay is a process of rebuilding. All of the stages make me think of the process of growing: making memories with people, losing people, and transforming. Although I take care of my own works, I cannot keep everything under control. I treat my works like treasures because I am always afraid to break any of them, as they are very fragile. It is a metaphor of avoiding loss, instead of letting them go.

I use objects symbolically to connect to my body and soul as a means to express my feelings. Paper airplanes, feet, teeth and pinwheels are some of the ordinary objects we see around us. They may seem as if they are normal or unexceptional, but each object carries different memories with them; they always remind me of the occurrences that happened to me and through process, materiality and symbolism; I make them extraordinary.

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