- ItemOpen AccessAvery Rush: capstone(2023) Rush, Avery, artistThe artist's statement: In my artistic practice, I explore the delicate balance between beauty and grotesqueness. My fascination with the unusual, mysterious, and spooky has been a constant throughout my life. By embracing objects, materials, and imagery that are often associated with negative connotations, I have been able to evoke a sense of empowerment through body adornment. My artwork not only allows me to express myself creatively but also enables me to gain a deeper understanding of my relationship with the world around me. By confronting and accepting the parts of myself that I have previously deemed unworthy or shameful, I am able to heal the inner wounds that have been inflicted upon me. My creations serve as a representation of acceptance and self-love. Through my art, I have learned the importance of sitting with uncomfortable emotions and experiences, allowing myself to fully feel and understand them. This practice has taught me to be comfortable with all aspects of myself, both positive and negative. As I continue to produce new works, I am empowered to be my most authentic self and to share my unique perspective with the world.
- ItemOpen AccessKelsey Gruber: capstone(2023) Gruber, Kelsey, artistThe artist's statement: I am currently exploring the relationship between found and discarded materials in relationship to preciousness and adornment in my metals work. The materials and symbols in my work imply death in some way, whether it be a literally dead specimen or a metaphorically dead object: one that is obsolete, has been given up by its previous owner, or is a made representation of something dead. I take these objects and I conserve their dead attributes in a way that protects, honors, and holds as sacred. I work specifically with nests and integrating them into the language of craft and adornment. Wasps, birds, and other creatures create their nests out of discarded and dead materials to then create life in, only for the nests to be left behind and discarded once again. This cyclical nature of material is in direct relation to the cyclical nature of life and death; I view these cycles as a portal for new transmutations. These cycles are also a reminder of the preciousness of life and death - to hold death as sacred is to transform our narratives of death into something continuous rather than final. There have been a lot of deaths close to my heart in the recent years, and with little room to grieve amidst the business of getting a degree, I needed to come up with a way that I could connect with death in a factual, but meaningful sense. Death does not only exist in the cessation of life: it exists in creation and all throughout life in terms of rebirth. Death is not an end, it is in fact a cycle that is as close to us as our waking lives. Between these moments of constant death and life is where I find the fibers of creation; the poetry of existence; the nests with their honey and eggs. Death will always feed life, and life will always feed death.
- ItemOpen AccessEmily Yodis: capstone(2022) Yodis, Emily, artistThe artist's statement: Every 7 years the body turns over every cell essentially creating a whole new body, a new person who looks, feels and acts differently. I am a completely different woman than I was at even 16 years old. In my life I have had a tumultuous relationship with my body and the concept of sex; specifically, intimacy and pleasure. I view this collection of work as a reclamation of bodily autonomy and understanding, helping me find love for a new body that has never seen such harsh criticism. Safety, comfort, ownership, reclamation, understanding, overcoming are all processes that I work through in life, but also within my metalwork. Mental power, sexual power, and physical strength/integrity are concepts I embed in the physical creations I produce. My jewelry is directly connected to the location of the body on which the piece is worn. It is in conversation with my ceramic work, which also references the body, but in an abject style. These vessels give the viewer an uneasy, uncomfortable, and even disgusted reaction. Social constructs about how some parts of the body are seen as beautiful while others (and sometimes even the same parts) are seen as disgusting fascinate me. I explore these ideas in my piece "The Beauty of Something Unbeautiful", in which I contrast couture-style jewelry with the less glamorous location of the foot. Femininity, sex from the female perspective, and stigma about attention and the act of "showing off" also interest me. My piece "Spineless" engages these themes through taking the central structure of the human body and displaying it in a more vulnerable position on the naked human back. The consistent theme within most of my metalwork is the reclamation of my own body. Growing up as a woman there was tons of pressure to fit the ideal body type, even though the ideal body type has changed so much just in the 23 years I have been alive. Making amends with my body has empowered me to finally accept not necessarily what I look like, but the idea that my body is a vessel that contains who I really am. This reconciliation has brought me peace and happiness, and helps ground my artmaking process. Finally coming to terms and accepting my physical form has been one of the most prominent struggles in my womanhood. Many women have gone through similar experiences as I. For me, the most important part of healing is channeling my experiences into the physical manifestation of objects that are both vulnerable and strong.
- ItemOpen AccessMandy Kaufman: capstone(Colorado State University. Libraries, 2022) Kaufman, Mandy, artistThe artist's statement: My work is focused on the ways that one can explore identity and the way that one's identity is treated differently by others. As someone who has been through state sanctioned institutional abuse for my identity, I have spent a lot of time thinking about the ways we treat others because of who they are and the ways that we internalize and copy the abuse we suffer in a desperate attempt to fit in. I express this through the language of musical instruments as they are excellent allegories for the way that we express ourselves and interact with the world around us. I particularly focus on old folk instruments that aren’t commonly played to draw a connection to the ways that atypical identities are mistreated by a society that refuses to try to understand and appreciate those differences for what they are. Just as our society distrusts those different than us, many people don’t listen to music made by instruments they are not familiar with. As I have grown to accept my own identity and live with it proudly, I have had to learn to apologize for not letting myself and others sing our own songs and be proud of the peculiar and unique people we are. Almost six years after I left conversion therapy, I now understand the person I was and the ways I abused myself and others by internalizing the thoughts and rationales of my abusers. As I use art to help understand myself and my relationship to society, I also hope my work in some way can help teach others that the unknown and the strange isn't something to be suppressed and punished but accepted and celebrated.
- ItemOpen AccessHannah Chatham: capstone(Colorado State University. Libraries, 2021) Chatham, Hannah, artistThe artist's statement: I cast and manipulate parts of my body to create wearable conversation pieces. Curious forms evolve from transformative processes, such as combined wax-casting and digital modeling. Focus on orifices symbolize the importance of listening to your guts, or inner voice. These devices playfully explore the interior and exterior, indulging sensuality and humor.