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Drawing on identity




Rockett, Sarah, author
Kokoska, Mary-Ann, advisor
Coronel, Patricia D., committee member
Hempel, Lynn Marie, 1965-, committee member
Lundberg, Thomas R., committee member
Ryan, Ajean Lee, committee member

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The focus of my work is to express aspects and constructs of identity through employing a physical drawing line. I view identity as a fragmented conglomerate influenced by one's personal experiences and interactions with social expectations. Through an analytical process of observation, I investigate my own identity by compulsively examining myself from the perspective of others and simultaneously considering my inner self. As the individual cannot be understood without her relationship to the many, my process highlights the roles that I play in relation to the collective of society. I take into account the many variations of social constructs, gender roles, and stereotypes that are imposed upon my identity, and question their impact upon my inner self. The result of this practice manifests itself in the form of art works made of many parts. Each work displays an accumulation of physical pieces that unite to emphasize the architecture of my identity. My art works tend to have an open-ended question or statement that propels their initial formation. They continuously grow, multiply, and accumulate to become drawings in space. By removing the traditional tools of drawing, the immediacy of the process commonly associated with drawing is increased with materials such as wire and thread. Through this method, there is a greater degree of tangible interaction by the artist with the work. I am no longer separated from the line by the tip of a pencil, but physically manipulating the movement of the line by hand. My anxious nature of looking inwards and outwards is recorded in each bend of wire and every stitch of thread. While these materials work harmoniously with my process, they also lend themselves in support of the conceptual aspect of the work. As I cannot escape the social construct of my gender, it must be noted that my work derives from an innately female perspective. Many of the questions that I pose towards social constructs revolve around the expectations of women's roles. With the use of wire and fibers, I am able to portray the complexity of contradictions that exists within my gender and myself. Wire functions as a strong building material, but is also durable, fragile, and may be manipulated to fit a specific mold. In this manner, the wire relates to current expectations of women both in the home and in the social sphere. Often viewed as having a delicate sensibility, embroidery echoes a long standing tradition of women's work and craft. However, the complexity of this technique can be emphasized and amplified when united with the physical drawing line. While I do not intentionally endeavor to compose a feminist statement in my work, an aspect of feminism remains in the process of self-discovery.


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