Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art
First Reader/Committee Chair
This body of work is composed of sculptural mixed media objects and scenes that heavily utilize cast glass. These pieces are physical representations of my quest to seek mental balance by focusing on what brings me happiness and comfort while still honoring mortality.
Moldmaking and repetition of process innate within casting and other aspects of this work makes me focus and revisit an idea, repetitively, like a meditation or a prayer. The intense focus required helps combat my anxiety and translates anxious energy into more positive, productive, balanced way of living.
Part of this balance requires the acknowledgment of the opposition. In this work, I confront some of these dualities by exploring my understanding and interpretation of life, death; beauty, grotesque; reality, fantasy; happiness, and depression. References to and use of ecology like the human form, animals, insects and flowers acknowledge the natural cycle of life. Peonies specifically symbolize my personal request for health and healing. Replicated items are used to honor the original object or memory and give figurative power to concepts I wish to emphasize. Some works resemble a memorial and become monuments to a memory or an emotion.
When presented as a body of work, my intention is to create an experience and thus a memory for the viewer. A memory is more likely to be impactful and longer lasting when more than one sense is activated. With this in mind, a calming scent of peony is diffused throughout the area as the viewer navigates through the space and interprets anthropomorphic creatures, wilting flowers, and a vignette of metamorphosing butterflies. Viewer's memories are activated with my references, and a personal narrative manifests. It is my pleasure to share my experiences, understanding of life, and to create a new memory with them.
Prevail: In the moment... is a story of resilience. It is a petition for balance, health, and healing. It is a remark of gratitude for the positive moments, and an honoring of mortality. It is the creation of a new memory and a manifestation of looking forward to the future.
Stahl, Nicole, "Prevail: In the moment..." (2017). Electronic Theses, Projects, and Dissertations. 562.