Between Death and the Grave: Constructing a Setting for the Event of the Question.
Hess, Daniel Lawrence
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This thesis is a tying together of literary, philosophical, art historical, and personal cords into a cohesive and in-depth investigation of my recent work. This chronological study of my more mature or realized works from the past three years is broken down into three principal areas of focus: sculptural installations, video installations and drawings. After establishing a personal and philosophical foundation, the architectonic, theatrical, cinematic and physiological structures represented in these works are addressed with regard to formal and conceptual concerns. I address the transition of my identity as a painter to that of an artist working with video installation and large-scale drawings. This concept of existing between contrasting states of being has become a recurring fixture in my recent work. This place of transition is revealed as a working-through or visual investigation of the relationship between theatricality, death, politics and religion. A primary point of philosophical reference is the work of Merleau-Ponty and his concepts of visibility and a lived body consciousness. Additional philosophical works from Gilles Deleuze and Jean-Francois Lyotard are cited in relation to my art making process. Diverse literary and art historical references and sources are also cited, from El Greco's The Burial of Count Orgaz<italic/> to Melville's Moby Dick<italic/>, from Didier Maleuvre to Copley's Watson and the Shark<italic/>.