Where the heart is

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Where the heart is
Physical Description:
Project in lieu of thesis
Creator:
Hill, Lauren Anne ( Dissertant )
Janowich, Ron ( Thesis advisor )
Morrisroe, Julia ( Reviewer )
Taylor, Bethany ( Reviewer )
Publisher:
College of Fine Arts, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date:

Notes

Abstract:
A series of sculptures, Where the Heart Is, reflects on abruptly severed romantic bonds and unfulfilled familial roles. Drawing influence from Louise Bourgeois’ and Janine Antoni’s mode of working, this project delves into autobiographical instances of psychological trauma resulting from broken relationships. Contrasting household items with materials of value, the sculptures that constitute Where the Heart Is simultaneously celebrate the idea of home and mourn its absence. The dichotomies of hope and futility thread through the imagery and materiality I choose to work with. Materials that refer to the domestic realm conjure ideas of home and family, but I distort their usual function by altering them to create sculptures. This distortion of the material’s original function suggests that what I value is currently unattainable; these materials are superfluous. I select sheets, dining room chairs, molding, and pillows, which display experience and use. The sadly majestic sculptures, whether boat, ladder, or shrine, enable these worn items to transcend their innate banality. While these materials are not specific or personal, they suggest an intimate and shared experience. I am creating a fictitious past, or thinking about a family structure that I have not participated in. I emphasize home and family to make them seem as valuable as I imagine they could have been, and could potentially be. This project embodies an attempt to reconcile past emotional and psychological pain with the present. By encompassing formal and conceptual dichotomies, Where the Heart Is asks the viewer to ponder the potential of domestic experience, as well as melancholy caused by absence of this shared experience. Through juxtaposition of material and form, the work evokes questions of how to negotiate possibility and futility, hope and sorrow within the traditional familial realm.
General Note:
Painting and Drawing terminal project

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida Institutional Repository
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID:
AA00001608:00001


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Full Text
WHERE THE HEART IS
By
LAUREN ANNE HILL
SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE:
RONJANOWICH, CHAIR JULIA MORRISROE, MEMBER BETHANY TAYLOR, MEMBER
A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF FINE ARTS
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
2011
1


2011 Lauren Hill
2


To my mom and dad
3


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank my supervisory committee chair, Ron Janowich, for being so insightful and understanding. I would also like to thank Julia Morrisroe, for her constant consideration, thoughtfulness and support of my work and my graduate experience, and Bethany Taylor, for all of her valuable input and feedback. I thank Richard Heipp and Jerry Cutler for their challenging questions and demand of excellence. In addition, this project, as well as my personal growth, could not have happened without the friendship and support of the cool painter kids, Chisum Justus, Andrew Hendrixson, and Sara Bausola. Finally, I would like to thank my mother and father for their never-ending patience and love.
4


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS................................................................................................................4
LIST OF PLATES..............................................................................................................................6
ABSTRACT......................................................................................................................................7
PROJECT REPORT..........................................................................................................................9
PLATES...........................................................................................................................................21
LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................................32
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH..............................................................................................................33
5


LIST OF PLATES
Plate 1. King. 2009. Pen, watercolor on paper; 11" x 13".
Plate 2. Secret Box. 2009. Pen, chalk on paper; 12" x 10".
Plate 3. Dependence. 2010. Pillows, needles, pantyhose, rope; 84" x 28" x 30".
Plate 4. Self-Portrait (I). 2010. Child's costume, sheets, plaster; 72" x 32" x 38".
Plate 5. The Boat. 2011. Bed sheets, clothes, faux velvet, banisters, molding, thread, yarn, copper strips; 6' x 4' x 4'.
Plate 6. The Boat (detail). 2011. Bed sheets, clothes, faux velvet, banisters, molding, thread, yarn, copper strips.
Plate 7. The Boat (detail). 2011. Bed sheets, clothes, faux velvet, banisters, molding, thread, yarn, copper strips.
Plate 8. The Shrine. 2011. Bronze, fabric, ceramic. Dimensions variable. Plate 9. The Shrine (detail). 2011. Bronze, fabric, ceramic. Plate 10. The Shrine (detail). 2011. Bronze, fabric, ceramic. Plate 11. The Shrine (detail). 2011. Bronze, fabric, ceramic.
Plate 12. The Ladder. 2011. Candle holders, wood, glass vases, fabric, clothing, thread, yarn, ribbon. 62' x 3'.
Plate 13. The Ladder (detail). 2011. Candle holders, wood, glass vases, fabric, clothing, thread, yarn, ribbon.
Plate 14. The Ladder (detail). 2011. Candle holders, wood, glass vases, fabric, clothing, thread, yarn, ribbon.
Plate 15. Installation shot. 2011.
6


Summary of Project in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts
WHERE THE HEART IS
By
Lauren Anne Hill May 2011
Chair: Ron Janowich Major: Art
A series of sculptures, Where the Heart Is, reflects on abruptly severed romantic bonds and unfulfilled familial roles. Drawing influence from Louise Bourgeois' and Janine Antoni's mode of working, this project delves into autobiographical instances of psychological trauma resulting from broken relationships. Contrasting household items with materials of value, the sculptures that constitute Where the Heart Is simultaneously celebrate the idea of home and mourn its absence.
The dichotomies of hope and futility thread through the imagery and materiality I choose to work with. Materials that refer to the domestic realm conjure ideas of home and family, but I distort their usual function by altering them to create sculptures. This distortion of the material's original function suggests that what I value is currently unattainable; these materials are superfluous. I select sheets, dining room chairs, molding, and pillows, which display experience and use. The sadly majestic sculptures, whether boat, ladder, or shrine, enable these worn items to transcend their innate banality. While these materials are not specific or personal, they suggest an intimate
7


and shared experience. I am creating a fictitious past, or thinking about a family structure that I have not participated in. I emphasize home and family to make them seem as valuable as I imagine they could have been, and could potentially be.
This project embodies an attempt to reconcile past emotional and psychological pain with the present. By encompassing formal and conceptual dichotomies, Where the Heart Is asks the viewer to ponder the potential of domestic experience, as well as melancholy caused by absence of this shared experience. Through juxtaposition of material and form, the work evokes questions of how to negotiate possibility and futility, hope and sorrow within the traditional familial realm.
8


WHERE THE HEART IS
An artist must seek an audience or a constituency, and I think they are to be found among the wounded. The wounded in our society are everywhere but we are schooled in denial, so I believe the hard task is to break the denial, so people can get in touch with their own pain. I believe that art both ministers to people at the point of their pain but may also be a way of penetrating the denial to have a conversation about it in the first place.
-Walter Brueggemann
This speech by Walter Brueggemann is revelatory in its insight, and influential to the project, Where the Heart Is. Over the past three years, I've continually created visual representations dealing with emotional and psychological pain, while hoping these works will 'minister to people at the point of their pain,' or at least cause one to question his or her emotional response to the work. Drawing influence from Louise Bourgeois' and Janine Antoni's mode of working, this project delves into autobiographical instances of psychological trauma resulting from broken relationships. By exploring my psyche through art practice, I hope to find commonalities in the viewer's psyche, and initiate dialogue about emotional and poetic interpretations of these states. I have used varying disciplines such as drawing, painting and sculpture, to explore possibility and potential while reflecting on loss in relationships. This study has led me to a highly personal group of work based on familial and domestic roles in my life.
Chronology of Work
In order to access and dissect emotional pain, psychology and the study of human behavior has greatly motivated my practice. Carl G. Jung, author of Man and His Symbols, expanded upon the definition of the unconscious and the psyche in a way that
9


informs my approach to art making. Jung hypothesized that emotional troubles stored in the unconscious would, if not reconciled, manifest through different outlets such as disruptive dreams or neuroses.1 Although fortunately absent of any neurotic symptoms or terribly disruptive dreams, I still desired to tap into the emotional pain that I knew resided in my psyche. Events surrounding romantic and familial relationships instigated this grief; to properly explore it, I drew on personal experience and intimate relationships as a motivating source of my practice.
Initially, small drawings executed in pen and watercolor, such as King (Plate 1), served as a useful way to explore my psyche and personal experiences; the automatic drawing method formulated during the Surrealist movement influenced this process. As Andre Breton wrote,
The absolute rationalism which remains in fashion allows for the consideration of only those facts narrowly relevant to our experience.2
The characters that developed from this drawing technique assumed certain traits; exaggerations of harmful qualities I had experienced with people from past relationships, as well as disadvantageous qualities I possessed. In this way, my work became intimately concerned with how value systems played out in my personal life.
Although the Surrealist method worked to a degree, there were contradictions in the process of automatic drawing for my purposes. Defined as "thought dictated in the absence of all control exerted by reason, and outside all aesthetic or moral
1 Jung 8.
2 Breton 14.
10


preoccupations,"3 it fell short as an appropriate method to communicate specific motivationsvalue systems, morality, and romantic relationshipsas well as a device for the orchestration of formally and aesthetically engaging works.
As a way to more specifically explore the psychological fluctuations of sexual relationships, I executed premeditated drawings with bodily forms to replace the simple, fantastical characters of my imagination. The corporeal forms morphed into each other in a slow, methodical, seemingly violent way, and suggested unspecified erotic activity, as in Secret Box (Plate 2). While the drawings showed specificity with one type of relationship that initiated internal pain, the subject matter became too general, not serving as a bridge between my experience and the viewer's; I was thinking of the dichotomies of violence and pleasure in any romantic relationship. I compared the value of relationships to the effort and psychological risk involved, but although these dichotomies were significant, the indirect, cold process was further than ever from communicating any emotion.
Louise Bourgeois once asserted, "The search for truth is what has kept me going. The secret of my anxiety.4 This statement inspired me to question how I would find appropriate and poignant ways to communicate sorrow and loss in a non-sentimental way. As I will expound upon in the following section, three-dimensional work served as a necessary vehicle for this expression.
3 Breton 15.
4 Bourgeois 38.
11


Sculptural Works and the Home
During my first two years of graduate school, I frequently experimented with objects and materials such as stuffed animals, fabric, clay, pillows, and thread (See Plate 3). Nothing integral blossomed primarily, but I continued to experiment, and expand the range of material from thrift shops and flea markets. Simultaneously, my research developed to include such artists as Louise Bourgeois and Rona Pondick. Through studying their work, I became much more sensitive to the diversity of surfaces and textures that these collected materials contained. Potential lay in juxtaposing soft materials with hard substances, and airy with dense, through interesting visual interaction as well as absurdity that some juxtapositions inherently contained.
In response to my collection of materials, my working method enveloped Jung's definition of intuition as a 'hunch'; that is, the "product of an involuntary event, which depends upon different external or internal circumstances instead of an act of judgment."5 I reacted to the materials through an intuitive process, as another method of accessing the unconscious part of my psyche. Similarly, Rona Pondick has stated of her working method, "I know I need to be making art for my own sanity. But I find it helpful not to analyze or figure things out too specifically."6
Sculpture, as a way to explore innate connotations of particular materials, provided opportunities that I did not find in painting and drawing. As Glenn Adamson succinctly states,
5 Jung 18.
6 Pondick 37.
12


And yet, since the days of the "Greenberg effect," material specificity, like supplementarity, has been an indispensable point of reference.7
By using a material for the specific references it embodies, one can appropriate these qualities to reinforce an idea. For example, bed sheets conjure ideas of intimacy and relationships that are obviously not innate to paint. As is said of Janine Antoni, who is also highly influential to this project, she "successively reconciles contradictory impulses, while creating a narrative that seems to be imbedded in the materials themselves."8 Opportunity lay within the material to play on the viewer's expectations. By either transforming a material's function or juxtaposing contradictory materials together, I began to manipulate materials based on my own emotional response, and as a result initiated emotional reactions within the viewer. The material acted as the bridge between the viewer's and my emotions and expectations.
The sculpture Self-Portrait (I) (Plate 4) was a pivotal piece to my practice. This sculpture revealed to me ways to create empathy within the viewer, through form and material. Self-Portrait (I), a hanging child's costume with a plaster face cast and a cape, became so strangely pathetic and absurd that one couldn't help but consider the sad comedy it portrayed. Empathy signified a way to communicate a feeling, not an event. In this way, compassion and understanding are more likely to exist without judgment. I found this sculpture to have potential as a vehicle that relates the feeling of my experience to the world.
7 Adamson 42.
8 Cameron 26.
13


The Poetics of Space, by Gaston Bachelard, highly influenced the three subsequent sculptures in the project, Where the Heart Is. Material choices, such as bed sheets, clothing, dining chairs, yarn, molding, and furniture remnants, largely resulted from his discussions on the idea of home. Bachelard premised that the home embodied emotions surpassing mere architecture:
But transposition to the human plane takes place immediately whenever a house is considered as space for cheer and intimacy, space that is supposed to condense and defend intimacy.
-Gaston Bachelard9
The home exemplifies intimacy. Residue of bonds and actions that seem so mundane, but are the basis of intimacy, may be transferred onto objects kept in the home. The house contains shared experience of familial and matrimonial relationships, and provides a metaphor for reconciliation of sorrow and loss with the present. In addition to Bachelard's discussion of the home, his thought that the poetic image exceeds the mere definition of words or images and exists as a subsequent feeling or emotion resulting from the sum of their arrangement, inspired me to create multi-layered work on a more poetic level.10 These two topics formed the foundation for this project.
Consequently, the multiple paths that my work has taken have all converged at the juxtaposition of domestic items with valuable materials such as bronze. On the premise that I can explore my emotional state through a series of reactions to the material, as well as play on the viewer's empathy through material manipulation, I exploit the intimacy of domestic materials. The sculptures in this projectwhether
9 Bachelard 48.
10 Bachelard 15.
14


through the absurd quietude of The Shrine, the illogical length of the non-functional Ladder, or the dream-image of The Boat unexpectedly contrast material and form.
The Boat
The Boat, (Plates 5 7) a six foot by four foot by four foot dysfunctional boat
supported by wooden oars, embodies many references. Materials used in its
construction include sheets, clothes, banisters, molding, red velvet, copper strips, and
thread. The form itself implies animal-like movement, and the weight of the pillow
stuffing in the boat shape causes it to resemble an impregnated beast. It appears to be
in the process of lumbering through the ocean. The interior of the boat concaves into a
ribbed velvet hollow; a space of vulnerability and transportation.
One could say that this dream picture was symbolic, for it did not state the situation directly but expressed the point indirectly by means of a metaphor that I could not at first understand. When this happens (as it so often does) it is not deliberate "disguise" by a dream; it simply reflects the deficiencies in our understanding of emotionally charged pictorial language. For in our daily experience, we need to state things as accurately as possible, and we have learned to discard the trimmings of fantasy both in our language and in our thoughts.
-Carl Jung1:
The materials and form of the boat operate as a way to reinvestigate the 'trimmings of fantasy' that has been discarded in the efficiency of everyday life. As Jung hypothesized, dreams serve as spontaneous symbols delivered to our conscious from our unconscious.12 In the boat's totality, it reminds one of an image from a dream. The absurdity of material in its construction reinforces this dream-like quality. The Boat
11
12
Jung 48. Jung 16.
15


becomes important as a dream image because of its association with the unconscious, and as a way to investigate 'emotionally charged pictorial language', as the form reminisces of melancholy and sad grandeur. In constructing the boat, I continually negotiated material and form by responding to intuition.
The Boat conjures ideas of transporter. It becomes the bearer of responsibility for the load it carries and represents provider, accountable for the safety of whatever cargo might find its way into the hull. The structure and scale of the boat, as well as the red concaved center, suggests viscera. As a stand in for the body, the interior of the boat reminds one of a ribcage, and the oars function as limbs. The weathered copper strips show the effects of time and experience; they display consequence and impact. One empathizes with its worn demeanor; the sculpture's movement conjures compassion.
Notions of absurdity and fantasy manifest through The Boat's material and form. This sculpture serves as a symbol of an attempt to manage sadness contained in my unconscious. The Boat functions as a vehicle to reveal epic sorrow in the aftermath of severed relationships, but also, through its construction and color, serves as a grand gesture to maintain faith in the future.
The Shrine
The Shrine (Plates 8 11) consists of 15 bronze candles placed in used ceramic soap dishes and toothbrush holders. The bronze candles each hold in place a banner of fabric reaching to the floor where it piles on the ground. Aside from the literal bathroom fixtures, the fabric banners flowing to the floor suggest the bathroom by
16


referencing toilet paper or imitating the gravity of falling water. The candles are reminiscent of bronze baby shoes; they are frozen in time at differing levels of melting, and serve to commemorate domestic life.
Memories of the outside world will never have the same tonality as those of the home and, by recalling these memories, we add to our store of dreams; we are never real historians but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost.
-Gaston Bachelard13
Through this quote, Bachelard touches upon many elements in The Shrine. The bronze candles are associated with memory and time, and indicate, without specificity, an event from the past; also, through their juxtaposition with ceramic soap dishes, recall the idea of home. The combination of cloth, bronze, and ceramic dishes contribute to the elegance of the sculpture, as well as the graceful movement of the cloth as it drapes to the floor. In its entirety, The Shrine serves as a melancholic vehicle for the 'expression of a poetry that was lost.'
Another important aspect of The Shrine lies in attributing significance to banal material. The sculpture calls to mind the space of the bathroom, the most private but necessary of spaces. The soap and toothbrush holders are transformed into vehicles of meditation and reflection, and require the viewer to ponder the importance of mundane activities performed in the bathroom and home. There is an absurd quality to the material combination; one would not think of the bathroom as a place of elegance and beauty, but as Bachelard writes, "if we look at it intimately, the humblest dwelling
13 Bachelard 47.
17


has beauty ". Through these contrasting ideas, the viewer's expectations are subverted; The Shrine demonstrates that banality contained in domestic life is as valuable as I imagine it could be.
The Ladder
The Ladder (Plates 12 14) serves as a bridge between the familiar and the new.
A rope ladder that is constructed from remnants of dining room chairs, placemats,
molding, candle holders, fabric, and thread, this vehicle fluctuates between the known
and the unknown, the domestic and the adventurous. The Ladder's length spans further
than most functional rope ladders find necessary, and seems to be continuing into
oblivion. This implicates its potential for adventure; the viewer imagines maneuvering
along its precarious path, becoming a participant in an unfamiliar journey.
It was the custom in those days for passengers leaving for America to bring balls of yarn on deck. Relatives on the pier held the loose ends. As the Giulia blew its horn and moved away from the dock, a few hundred strings of yarn stretched across the water. People shouted farewells, waved furiously, held up babies for last looks they wouldn't remember. Propellers churned; handkerchiefs fluttered, and, up on deck, the balls of yarn began to spin. Red, yellow, blue, green, they untangled toward the pier, slowly at first, one revolution every ten seconds, then faster and faster as the boat picked up speed. Passengers held the yarn as long as possible, maintaining the connection to the faces disappearing onshore. But finally, one by one, the balls ran out. The strings flew free, rising on the breeze. -Jeffrey Eugenides15
As an extension of Eugenide's anecdote in Middlesex, The Ladder connects the familiar that is found in relationships with loved ones to domestic materials used in its construction. The potential found in the unknown as the people sail off correlates to
14 Bachelard 4.
15 Eugenides 64.
18


the unknown of the ladder's destination as it disappears into oblivion. Despite its epic non-functionality, The Ladder symbolizes reconciliation with the past, and my desire to let go.
The parallels between the symbolic nature of the yarn in the story of the Guilia and the connotations of the household items in The Ladder expand also to Janine Antoni's Moor. Moor is a rope that is magnificent in its length and its construct. Assembled from objects gathered from her friends, the rope becomes a record of acquaintances and loved ones. Although the materials used in The Ladder don't have personal significance, the ladder signifies possibility by using the materials that represent shared experience in the domestic realm.
Conclusion
My work has consistently been a meditation on emotional and psychological pain, consequently leading to an exploration of how to reconcile this pain with the present. By selecting specific tactics from Surrealist practices, I delve into my psyche as a method to resolve psychological pain caused by severed romantic and familial relationships.
The series of sculptures in Where the Heart Is are based on poetic responses to reflection on domestic life. On the premise that worn household items connote relationships that are experienced in the home, the sculptures embody the possibilities that these items, as well as the home, can facilitate. By encompassing formal and conceptual dichotomies, Where the Heart Is asks the viewer to ponder the potential of
19


domestic experience, as well as melancholy caused by absence of this shared experience. Through juxtaposition of material and form, the work evokes questions of how to negotiate possibility and futility, hope and sorrow within the traditional familial realm.
20


PLATES Pages 22-31
21


Plate 2
22


Plate 3
23


24


Plate 5




Plate 9
27




29




Plate 15
31


LIST OF REFERENCES
Adamson, Glenn. Thinking through Craft. English ed. Oxford; New York: Berg, 2007.
Antoni, Janine. Janine Antoni. Special ed. Kusnacht, Switzerland; New York: InkTree; Distributed in the US by DAP, Distributed Art Publishers, 2000.
Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969.
Breton, Andre. Manifestes Du Surrealisme. Paris: Gallimard, 1985.
Eugenides, Jeffrey. Middlesex. New York: Picador, 2002.
Jung, C. G., Marie Luise von Franz, and C. G. Jung. Man and His Symbols. New York: Dell, 1964.
Kellein, Thomas, et al. Louise Bourgeois: La Famille. Koln; New York: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter Konig; Distributed in North America by DAP, 2006.
Pondick, Rona, and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Rona Pondick: Works 1986-2001. New York: Sonnabend Press, 2002.
32


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Lauren Hill was born in Gainesville and raised in Ocala, Florida. Upon graduating high school, she travelled extensively, and proceeded to complete her Bachelor of Fine Art at Flagler College in 2007, in St. Augustine, Florida. In fall of 2008, she entered the graduate program at the University of Florida (Gainesville), where she earned her MFA in 2011.
33


Full Text

PAGE 1

1 WHERE THE HEART IS By LAUREN ANNE HILL SUPERVISORY COMMITTEE: RON JANOWICH, CHAIR JULIA MORRISROE, MEMBER BETHANY TAYLOR, MEMBER A PROJECT IN LIEU OF THESIS PRESENTED TO THE COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF FINE ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2011

PAGE 2

2 2011 Lauren Hill

PAGE 3

3 To my mom and dad

PAGE 4

4 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I woul d like to thank my supervisory committee chair Ron Janowich, for being so insightful and understanding. I would also like to thank Julia Morrisroe, for her constant consideration, thoughtfulness and support of my work and my graduate experience and Bethany Taylor, for all of her valuable input and feedback. I thank Richard Heipp and Jerry Cutler for their challenging questions and demand of excellence In addition, this project, as well as my personal growth, could not have happened without the f ri endship and support of the cool painter kids, Chisum Justus, Andrew Hendrixson and Sara Bausola Finally, I would like to thank my mo ther and father for their never ending patience and love.

PAGE 5

5 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page .21

PAGE 6

6 LIST OF PLATES Plate 1. King. Plate 2. Secret Box Plate 3. Dependence. 2010. Pillo ws, needles, pantyhose, rope; 84 Plate 4. Self Portrait (I). Plate 5. The Boat. 2011. Bed sheets, clothes, faux velvet, banisters, molding, thread, Plate 6. The Boat (detail). 2011. Bed sheets, clothes, faux velvet, banisters, molding, thread, yarn, copper strips. Plate 7. The Boat (detail). 2011. Bed sheets, clothes, faux velvet, banisters, molding, thread, yarn, copper strips. Plate 8. The Shrine. 2011. Bronze, fabric, ceramic. Dimensions variable. Plate 9. The Shrine (detail). 2011. Br onze, fabric, ceramic. Plate 10. The Shrine (detail). 2011. Bronze, fabric, ceramic. Plate 11. The Shrine (detail). 2011. Bronze, fabric, ceramic. Plate 12 The Ladder. 2011. Candle holders, wood, glass vases, fabric, clothing, thread, yarn, Plate 13 The Ladder (detail). 2011. Candle holders, wood, glass vases, fabric, clothing, thread, yarn, ribbon. Plate 14. The Ladder (detail). 2011. Candle holders, wood, glass vases, fabric, clothing, thread, yarn, ribbon. Plate 15. Installation shot 2011.

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7 Summary of Project in Lieu of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Fine Arts WHERE THE HEART IS By Lauren Anne Hill May 2011 Chair: Ron Janowich Major: Art A series of sculptures, Where the Heart Is reflects on abruptly severed romantic and mode of working, this project delves into autobiographical instances of psychological trauma resulting from broken relationships. Contrasting household items with materials of value, the sculptures that constitute Where the Heart Is simultaneously celebra te the idea of home and mourn its absence. The dichotomies of hope and futility thread through the imagery and materiality I choose to work with. Materials that refer to the domestic realm conjure ideas of home and family, but I distort their usual functi on by altering them to create sculptures. This unattainable; these materials are superfluous. I select sheets, dining room chairs, molding, and pillows, which display experience and use. The sadly majestic sculptures, whether boat, ladder, or shrine, enable these worn items to transcend their innate banality. While these materials are not specific or personal, they suggest an intimate

PAGE 8

8 and shared experience. I am creati ng a fictitious past, or thinking about a family structure that I have not participated in. I emphasize home and family to make them seem as valuable as I imagine they could have been, and could potentially be. This project embodies an attempt to reconci le past emotional and psychological pain with the present By encompassing formal and conceptual dichotomies, Where the Heart Is asks the viewer to ponder the potential of domestic experience, as well as melancholy caused by absence of this shared experien ce. Through juxtaposition of material and form, the work evokes questions of how to negotiate possibility and futility, hope and sorrow within the traditional familial realm.

PAGE 9

9 WHERE THE HEART IS An artist must seek an audience or a constituency, and I think they are to be found among the wounded. The wounded in our society are everywhere but we are schooled in denial, so I believe the hard task is to break the denial, so people can get in touch with their own pain. I believe that a rt both ministers to people at the point of their pain but may also be a way of penetrating the denial to have a conversation about it in the first place. Walter Brueggemann This speech by Walter Brueggemann is revelatory in its insight, and influential to the project, Where the Heart Is visual representations dealing with emotional and psychological pain, while hoping one to question his or her emotional response to the work. Drawing influence from Louise autobiographical instances of psychological trauma resulting from broken relationships. By exploring my psyche through art practice, I hope to find commonalities in the these states. I have used varying disciplines such as drawing, painting and sculpture, to ex plore possibility and potential while reflecting on loss in relationships. This study has led me to a highly personal group of work based on familial and domestic roles in my life. Chronology of Work In order to access and dissect emotional pain, psychology and the study of human behavior has greatly motivated my practice. Carl G. Jung, author of Man and His Symbols, expanded upon the definition of the unconscious and the psyche in a way that

PAGE 10

10 informs my approach to art making. Jung hypothesized that emotional troubles stored in the unconscious would, if not reconciled, manifest through different outlets such as disruptive dreams or neuroses. 1 Although fortunately absent of any neurotic symptoms or te rribly disruptive dreams, I still desired to tap into the emotional pain that I knew resided in my psyche. Events surrounding romantic and familial relationships instigated this grief; to properly explore it, I drew on personal experience and intimate rel ationships as a motivating source of my practice. Initially, small drawings executed in pen and watercolor, such as King (Plate 1), served as a useful way to explore my psyche and personal experiences; the automatic drawing method formulated during the Sur realist movement influenced this process. As Andre Breton wrote, The absolute rationalism which remains in fashion allows for the consideration of only those facts narrowly relevant to our experience. 2 The characters that developed from this drawing tec hnique assumed certain traits; exaggerations of harmful qualities I had experienced with people from past relationships, as well as disadvantageous qualities I possessed. In this way, my work became intimately concerned with how value systems played out i n my personal life. Although the Surrealist method worked to a degree, there were contradictions in absence of all control exerted by reason, and outside all aestheti c or moral 1 Jung 8. 2 Breton 14.

PAGE 11

11 3 it fell short as an appropriate method to communicate specific motivations value systems, morality, and romantic relationships as well as a device for the orchestration of formally and aesthetically engaging works. As a way to more specifically explore the psychological fluctuations of sexual relationships, I executed premeditated drawings with bodily forms to replace the simple, fantastical characters of my imagination. The corporeal forms morphed into each other in a slow, me thodical, seemingly violent way, and suggested unspecified erotic activity, as in Secret Box (Plate 2). While the drawings showed specificity with one type of relationship that initiated internal pain, the subject matter became too general, not serving as dichotomies of violence and pleasure in any romantic relationship. I compared the value of relationships to the effort and psychological risk involved, but although these dichotomies were significant, the indirect, cold process was further than ever from communicating any emotion. The secret of my anxiety. 4 would find appropriate and poignant ways to communicate sorrow and loss in a non sentimental way. As I will expound upon in the following section, three dimensional work served as a necessary vehicle for this expression. 3 Breton 15. 4 Bourgeois 38.

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12 Sculptural Works and the Home During my first two years of graduate school, I frequently experimented with objects and materials such as stuffed animals, fabric, clay, pillows, and thread (See Plate 3 ) Nothing integral blossomed primarily, but I continued to experiment, and expand th e range of material from thrift shops and flea markets. Simultaneously, my research developed to include such artists as Louise Bourgeois and Rona Pondick. Through studying their work, I became much more sensitive to the diversity of surfaces and texture s that these collected materials contained. Potential lay in juxtaposing soft materials with hard substances, and airy with dense, through interesting visual interaction as well as absurdity that some juxtapositions inherently contained. In response to depends upon different external or internal circumstances instead of an act of 5 I reacted to the materials through an intuitive process, as another method of accessing the unconscious part of my psyche. Similarly, Rona Pondick has stated of helpful not to ana 6 Sculpture, as a way to explore innate connotations of particular materials, provided opportunities that I did not find in painting and drawing. As Glenn Adamson succinctly states, 5 Jung 18. 6 Pondick 37.

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13 And yet, since the days of supplementarity, has been an indispensable point of reference. 7 By using a material for the specific references it embodies, one can appropriate these qualities to reinforce an idea. For example, bed she ets conjure ideas of intimacy and relationships that are obviously not innate to paint. As is said of Janine Antoni, who is impulses, while creating a narrative that seems to be imbedded in the materials 8 together, I began to manipulate materials based on my own emotional response, and as a result initiated emotional reactions within the viewer. The material acted as the The sculpture Self Portrait (I) (Plate 4 ) was a pivotal piece to my pra ctice. This sculpture revealed to me ways to create empathy within the viewer, through form and material. Self Portrait (I) consider the sad comedy it portrayed. Empathy signified a way to communicate a feeling not an event In this way, compassion and understanding are more likely to exist without judgment. I found this sculpture to have potential as a vehicle that relate s the feeling of my experience to the world. 7 Adamson 42. 8 Cameron 26.

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14 The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, highly influenced the three subsequent sculptures in the project, Where the Heart Is Material choices, such as bed sheets, clothing, dining chairs, yarn, molding, a nd furniture remnants, largely resulted from his discussions on the idea of home. Bachelard premised that the home embodied emotions surpassing mere architecture: But transposition to the human plane takes place immediately whenever a house is considered as space for cheer and intimacy, space that is supposed to condense and defend intimacy. Gaston Bachelard 9 The home exemplifies intimacy. Residue of bonds and actions that seem so mundane, but are the basis of intimacy, may be transferred onto objects k ept in the home. The house contains shared experience of familial and matrimonial relationships, and provides a metaphor for reconciliation of sorrow and loss with the present. In addition c image exceeds the mere definition of words or images and exists as a subsequent feeling or emotion resulting from the sum of their arrangement, inspired me to create multi layered work on a more poetic level. 10 These two topics formed the foundation fo r this project. Consequently, the multiple paths that my work has taken have all converged at the juxtaposition of domestic items with valuable materials such as bronze. On the premise that I can explore my emotional state through a series of reactions to the material, a exploit the intimacy of domestic materials. The sculptures in this project whether 9 Bachelard 48 10 Bachelard 15.

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15 through the absurd quietude of The Shrine, the illogical length of the non functional Ladder or the dream image of The Boat unexpectedly contrast material and form. The Boat The Boat (Plates 5 7) a six foot by four foot by four foot dysfunctional boat supported by wooden oars, embodies many references. Materials used in its construction include sheets, clothes, banisters, molding, red velvet, copper strips, and thread. The form itself implies animal like movement, and the weight of the pillow stuffing in the boat shape causes it to resemble an impregnated beast. It appears to be in the process of lumbering through the ocean. The interior of the boat concaves into a ribbed velvet hollow; a space of vulnerability and transportation. One could say that this dream picture was sy mbolic, for it did not state the situation directly but expressed the point indirectly by means of a metaphor that I could not at by a dream; it simply reflects the deficiencies in our understanding of emotionally charged pictorial language. For in our daily experience, we need to state things as accurately as possible, and we have learned to discard the trimmings of fantasy both in our language and in our thoughts. Carl Jung 11 The materials and form of the boat operate as a way to reinvestigate the hypothesized, dreams serve as spontaneous symbols delivered to our conscious from our unconscious. 12 absurdity of material in its construction reinforces this dream like quality. The B oat 11 Jung 48. 12 Jung 16.

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16 becomes important as a dream image because of its association with the unc onscious, reminisces of melancholy and sad grandeur. In constructing the boat, I continually negotiated material and form by responding to intuition. The Boat conjures ideas of transporter. It becomes the bearer of responsibility for the load it carries and represents provider, accountable for the safety of whatever cargo might find its way into the hull. The structure and scale of the boat, as well as the red concaved cent er, suggests viscera. As a stand in for the body, the interior of the boat reminds one of a ribcage, and the oars function as limbs. The weathered copper strips show the effects of time and experience; they display consequence and impact. One empathizes compassion. Notions of absurdity and fantasy manifest through material and form. This sculpture serves as a symbol of an attempt to manage sadness contained in my unconscious. The Boat functions as a vehicle to reveal epic sorrow in the aftermath of severed relationships, but also, through its construction and color, serves as a grand gesture to maintain faith in the future. The Shrine The Shrine (Plates 8 11 ) consists of 15 bronze candles placed in used ceramic soap dishes and toothbrush holders. The bronze candles each hold in place a banner of fabric reaching to the floor where it piles on the ground. Aside from the literal bathroom fixtures, the fabric banners flowing to the f loor suggest the bathroom by

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17 referencing toilet paper or imitating the gravity of falling water. The candles are reminiscent of bronze baby shoes; they are frozen in time at differing levels of melting, and serve to commemorate domestic life. Memories of the outside world will never have the same tonality as those of the home and, by recalling these memories, we add to our store of dreams; we are never real historians but always near poets, and our emotion is perhaps nothing but an expression of a poetry that was lost. Gaston Bachelard 13 Through this quote, Bachelard touches upon many elements in The Shrine The bronze candles are associated with memory and time, and indicate, without specificity, an event from the past; also, through their juxtapositio n with ceramic soap dishes, recall the idea of home. The combination of cloth, bronze, and ceramic dishes contribute to the elegance of the sculpture, as well as the graceful movement of the cloth as it drapes to the floor. In its entirety, The Shrine se rves as a melancholic vehicle for the Another important aspect of The Shrine lies in attributing significance to banal material. The sculpture calls to mind the space of the bathroom, the most private but necessar y of spaces. The soap and toothbrush holders are transformed into vehicles of meditation and reflection, and require the viewer to ponder the importance of mundane activities performed in the bathroom and home. There is an absurd quality to the material c ombination; one would not think of the bathroom as a place of elegance f we look at it intimately, t he humblest dwelling 13 Bachelard 47.

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18 14 subverted; The Sh rine demonstrates that banality contained in domestic life is as valuable as I imagine it could be. The Ladder The Ladder (Plates 12 14 ) serves as a bridge between the familiar and the new. A rope ladder that is constructed from remnants of dining ro om chairs, placemats, molding, candle holders, fabric, and thread, this vehicle fluctuates between the known and the unknown, the domestic and the adventurous. length spans further than most functional rope ladders find necessary, and seems t o be continuing into oblivion. This implicates its potential for adventure; the viewer imagines maneuvering along its precarious path, becoming a participant in an unfamiliar journey. It was the custom in those days for passengers leaving for America to bring balls of yarn on deck. Relatives on the pier held the loose ends. As the Giulia blew its horn and moved away from the dock, a few hundred strings of yarn stretched across the water. People shouted farewells, waved furiously, held up babies for last remember. Propellers churned; handkerchiefs fluttered, and, up on deck, the balls of yarn began to spin. Red, yellow, blue, green, they untangled toward the pier, slowly at first, one revolution every ten seconds, then faster and fas ter as the boat picked up speed. Passengers held the yarn as long as possible, maintaining the connection to the faces disappearing onshore. But finally, one by one, the balls ran out. The strings flew free, rising on the breeze. Jeffrey Eugenides 15 Middlesex The Ladder connects the familiar that is found in relationships with loved ones to domestic materials used in its construction. The potential found in the unknown as the people sail off correlates to 14 Bachelard 4. 15 Eugenides 64.

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19 vion. Despite its epic non functionality, The Ladder symbolizes reconciliation with the past, and my desire to let go. The parallels between the symbolic nature of the yarn in the story of the Guilia and the connotations of the household items in The Ladd er expand also to Janine Moor. Moor is a rope that is magnificent in its length and its construct. Assembled from objects gathered from her friends, the rope becomes a record of acquaintances and loved ones. Although the materials used in The L adder personal significance, the ladder signifies possibility by using the materials that represent shared experience in the domestic realm. Conclusion My work has consistently been a meditation on emotional and psychological pain, consequent ly leading to an exploration of how to reconcile this pain with the present. By s electing specific tactics from S urrealist practices, I delve into my psyche as a method to resolve psychological pain caused by severed romantic and familial relationships. T he series of sculptures in Where the Heart Is are based on poetic responses to reflection on domestic life. On the premise that worn household items connote relationships that are experienced in the home, the sculptures embody the possibilities that these items, as well as the home, can facilitate. By encompassing formal and conceptual dichotomies, Where the Heart Is asks the viewer to ponder the potential of

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20 domestic experience, as well as melancholy caused by absence of this shared experience. Through juxtaposition of material and form, the work evokes questions of how to negotiate possibility and futility, hope and sorrow within the traditional familial realm.

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21 PLATES Pages 22 31

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22 Plate 1 Plate 2

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23 Plate 3

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24 Plate 4

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25 Plate 5 Plate 6

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26 Plate 7 Plate 8

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27 Plate 9

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28 Plate 10 Plate 11

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29 Plate 12

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30 Plate 13 Plate 14

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31 Plate 15

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32 LIST OF REFERENCES Adamson, Glenn. Thinking through Craft. English ed. Oxford; New York: Berg, 2007. Antoni, Janine. Janine Antoni. Special ed. Kusnacht, Switzerlan d; New York: Ink Tree; Distributed in the US by DAP, Distributed Art Publishers, 2000. Bachelard, Gast on. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. Breton, Andre. Manifestes Du Surrealisme. Paris: Gallimard, 1985. Eugenides, Jeffrey. Middlesex. New York: Picador, 2002. Jung, C. G., Marie Luise von Franz, and C. G. Jung. Man and His Sym bols. New York: Dell, 1964. Kellein, Thomas, et al. Louise Bourgeois: La Famille. Koln; New York: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walter Konig; Distributed in North America by DAP, 2006. Pondick, Rona, and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac. Rona Pondick: Works 1986 2001. New York: Sonnabend Press, 2002.

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33 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Lauren Hill was born in Gainesville and raised in Ocala, Florida. Upon graduating high school, she travelled extensively, and pro ceeded to complete her Bachelor of Fine Art at Flagler College in 2007, in St. Augustine, Florida. In fall of 2008, she entered the graduate program at the University of Florida (Gainesville), where she earned her MFA in 2011.