In//Access//Able: MFA Thesis - Metal
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Art metal-work Exhibitions
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::Aesthetic subjects::Art
AbstractI manipulate rods of steel and bronze in a way that is in conflict with the materials’ own properties. Through my work, through effort, I show the relation between a body in action and the material’s ability to be manipulated, distorting its processed, stock identity. I transform a bar of milled steel’s linear orientation through careful forming, cutting, and welding, to re-assemble a bar that is no longer straight. For example, a window grate where all of the vertical, straight bars have been tied and twisted, creating an opening in a structure meant to deny access. I choose to make these window grates for their ability to evoke dialogue about access to spaces. Institutions geared towards knowledge, faith, and government are erected to house privileged individuals. These institutional structures affect our lives and shape our knowledge. These institutions are the most inclusive clubhouses in western culture, and segregate based on cultural hierarchy and class systems. A window grate acts as both a barrier and a reminder of one’s place in the world. In domestic architecture, a window grate can also imply the same distinction of class. However, this implication of the domestic setting reaches a wider economic spectrum. A window grate can protect any person or family from home invasion; however it does not provide protection from all outside aggression. Through the abstraction and subversion of the window grille or window grate format, I ask the viewer to reconsider practical and ornamental function. Venetian blinds so strong they would stop a bullet because they are made from steel; a set of steel bars over a window frame that are exaggerated, swooped, and tied into an absurd bow. These call into question ideas of access and denial: who is allowed inside, who must be kept out, and why. Whether you are in, or out, I am giving you a window to access issues surrounding social and cultural institutions, and who is able to have a voice in them.
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