Oh, Wonder! Votives of the Anthropocene: MFA Thesis Metal
Chandler, Emma Olivia
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Subjectfolklore; fairy tales; speculative present; Metal; Metalsmithing; Enamel; Ex voto; Transgenic; Anthropocene; Bioart; Jewelry; Decorative arts; Genetic modification; Soft sculpture; Votive practices; Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION::Aesthetic subjects::Art
My research occurs in biological and archeological texts, as well as in mythological realms. The twin tracks of scientific investigation and folklore illuminate a wide range of relationships between that which we imagine and that which we manifest. I pose the question: what mythology will we construct for ourselves to explain our contemporary conditions? How now do we explain the butter that won’t churn? The fallow field? The failed experiment? What is the equivalent casting of the evil eye? To explore these ideas, I am collecting a pantheon of mythical creatures new and old, real and imagined and investigating these questions of genetic and physical transformation through a lens of folklore and superstition. I reflect on the traditional ephemera of bodily adornment and domestic decoration as I adapt historical forms to tackle contemporary anxieties.
We fabricate keepsakes for a variety of reasons: sometimes to invoke good fortune, other times to commemorate victory and personal prowess. Items with a social life – good luck charms, political badges, award ribbons – represent exciting moments of empathy, identity and exchange within our day-to-day sartorial expressions. To further investigate the invocation of luck, protection, and perfection, I explore these practices – badges, ex voto, statuary, trophies, medallions - through color, line, and form using vitreous enamels, the permanency of metal, and soft fabric. Translating historical artifacts into a contemporary vernacular, I discover new meanings of the objects and traditions in question.
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