In May I had my final exhibition in the MFA program at UW-Madison.
My work over the past year engages the space between places–specifically the experience of the transient, the displaced and the uprooted. Each piece in this exhibition frames a portrait of separation in which place and belonging mix with apparitions of desire. My affinity with material transformation during this period has focused on issues of fragility and fortification, recasting objects associated with house and home as symbolic agents of crisis.
Towards the end of the exhibition I met with my committee and completed my oral defense. In comparison with my MA/MFA qualifiers, which happened the year before, the experience was surprisingly simple. I think what best explains the difference between the meetings is this: at my MA/MFA qualifiers I thought I knew why I made the work, where as at my MFA defense I had spent a year rooting down and researching for the exhibition. The process helped me understand beyond any doubt or concern, how the pieces worked within the show. In the year between my MA and my MFA I learned a great deal about the value of speaking from a position of personal truth, and I believe understanding this greatly effected what I gained from the experience of final defense.
I am ever thankful for the experience I had in the Art Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and would like to take a moment to thank the people who helped me through this process:
Many thanks to Aris Georgiades and Gail Simpson for bringing me into the Sculpture Department, to Laurie Beth Clark for being my advocate at every turn and bringing me such a wealth of knowledge in your classes, to Stephen Hilyard for challenging me to make smarter work and showing me that and artist’s strength can also be their weakness, to Tom Jones for your ear and your eyes, to Paul Sacaridiz for welcoming me into the Ceramics Department in my final year and trusting that I could take on a new beast so late in the game, to Sarah FitzSimons for mentoring me through my first semester teaching Sculpture and of course to Michael Jay McClure hiring me as an Art History TA, a job that has made me sound all the more clever ever since. Beyond this I would like to extend a broad thanks to all of the faculty I worked with and to the visiting artists who shared their time with me over the past three years. I hope our paths continue to cross. Many thanks to my close friends for your camaraderie and critique. I wouldn’t have survived without you. And lastly, a huge thank you to my family for their incredible support. We did it!