Stories I'm Telling Myself

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art



First Reader/Committee Chair

Petty, Alison


Exhibition Title: Stories I’m Telling Myself

Visual Resource Center, California University, San Bernardino @rebeccawaringcrane

For my MFA in Studio Arts Thesis Exhibition, I created and documented story pieces based on my own childhood memories. The collection of three-dimensional stories—installation and sculpture—is designed to engage viewers in ways that numbers or facts cannot, but rather in the ways that only well-told visual stories can.

Introduction: Using story as my medium, I revisit and reshape the stories I unconsciously told myself as a child growing up in a close-knit, but very authoritarian family. My art serves as a form of agency as I seek to understand and find the humanity in those stories—the humor, awkwardness, bravery, shame, kindness, grief. In retelling stories, I also tap into the quiet power that comes with the practice of looking intently and listening deeply to narratives that often go unexamined, unchallenged.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION: A solo exhibition of original sculptural and installation pieces presented on-line through the Visual Resource Center, California State University, San Bernardino. Open July 29, 2020.

For the exhibit, I present eight original sculptural objects and installations that render the internal as external. Work for this show features familiar materials or objects that evoke surprise meaning, shifted perspective, and challenged expectations: a family of measuring cups with markers erased; a huge mirrored tray becomes a one-month calendar and holds rows of water glasses that will never quench your thirst, imperfect prescription bottles formed of solid glass gather to attest to the adult reality of adverse childhood experiences.

This exhibit is for the general public and will speak with the most resonance to viewers who relate to childhood trauma that breaks no laws, leaves no bruises, and often goes unnamed, but still shapes a life. The tone or mood of the images is a mix of awkward, mind your step, loneliness—which is how I often felt as a child. This next to flashes of healing and strength as the work implies the power of reparenting the self, and the agency of being a witness to the wounded child in each of us. By revealing personal childhood stories and my own sense of loneliness, the work invites viewers into their unique reading as well as conveys the message: You are not alone.

As researcher and writer Brené Brown notes, “When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”

Or, as Salman Rushdie posits, “Those who do not have power over the story that dominates their lives, power to retell it, to rethink it, deconstruct it, joke about it, and change it as times change, truly are powerless.”

R. Waring-Crane artist statement 2020 (2).pdf (26 kB)
Artist Statement Long & Short

Image List & Images R. Waring-Crane (2).pdf (4615 kB)
Image List and Images

Additional Files

R. Waring-Crane artist statement 2020 (2).pdf (26 kB)
Artist Statement Long & Short

Image List & Images R. Waring-Crane (2).pdf (4615 kB)
Image List and Images