Title page for ETD etd-06112013-170137

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Wirta, Raina Beth
Author's Email Address rainabwirta@gmail.com
URN etd-06112013-170137
Title The Collaged Practice: (un)familiar
Degree Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Department Art
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Celentano, Denyce Committee Chair
Andresen, Scott Committee Member
Thompson, Kristine Committee Member
Walsh, Michaelene Committee Member
  • practice
  • collage
  • installation
  • sculpture
  • video
  • curiosity
  • imagination
  • experience
  • (un)familiar
  • surreal
  • painting
  • grotesque
  • humor
  • biological
Date of Defense 2013-04-16
Availability unrestricted
My thesis exhibition is an installation of works including sculpture, video, paintings, a hand made book, sound, and drawings that emanated from a series of two-dimensional collages: self-contained forms that evoke the surreal, (un)familiar, and/or grotesque. Infused with a sort of mysterious being-hood and intended to inspire curiosity (at the least), they are unfamiliar in relation to a particular biological thing, but (mostly) recognizable in the autonomous bits and pieces. I seek to question where our physicality ends and the next form of biological life begins, and our responses to that physicality. With childlike inquisitiveness and wonder, and a healthy dose of humor, what emerges is the imaginings of these strange groupings and the desire to perhaps arouse that sense of wonder and inquisition within the viewer.

These works were installed in a 5,000 square foot warehouse loft to create an embodiment of the ideas described in this paper. My intention is to create a reflexive experience for the viewer with gaps, or pauses for thought and contemplation, throughout the space. I see this body of work, as most bodies of work, as a practice, and defining that practice will continue to happen through the course of my artistic career. By working in the warehouse space, I was able to reveal layers and correlations between content and process. For me, it is an (un)familiar practice because of the intuitive, layered, and complex habits.

This document serves as a reflection on this collaged installation that became a practice in and of itself. For my purposes, I have defined the collaged practice as layered exercises with various processes and materials coming from the same series of cut-paper collages. A large part of the vision for my thesis work is comprised of the human element, the interaction of persons within the transformed warehouse space, with the individual parts of the installation, and the collaborations therein.

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