Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art



First Reader/Committee Chair

Ragguette, Alison


Trauma lives in the body, with or without conscious memory of the events that placed it there. To cope with the pain of trauma we might disconnect from our bodies, choosing to view ourselves as some separate entity living within the body. Disconnection offers a sense of protection by allowing compartmentalization of pain, grief, and trauma, but the harder these emotional fragments are fought, the more they demand acknowledgment.

Referencing my torso for size, I handbuild biomorphic sculptures from clay, finishing them with glaze that mimics the dewy texture of raw clay, using a palette derived from my skin tone and bruises. These sculptures incorporate organic elements like cellulite, bones, organs, often surrounding a central orifice which invites exploration from every angle. Square oil-on-panel portraits painted of these sculptures in surrealistic colours provide a static, filtered view of the sculptures, controlling and restricting how the sculpture subject is perceived.

Throughout the works in this exhibition, I am seeking embodiment through abstraction. Abstraction provides a layer of protection, allowing me to share these totems of trauma publicly. The juxtaposition of apparent accessibility within the sculpture and the bounded, curated nature of the paintings and textiles create an intriguing, almost magical aura – a shared secret for those who linger a bit longer and look a bit closer.

Fragments of Forgiveness is a meditation on the intricate relationship between the body and traumatic experience from the artist’s perspective as a survivor of abuse and sexual assault. These lived experiences can never truly be forgotten, but the sharp, stinging pain can be transmuted into something still, and quiet – something that can be comfortably lived with.