Citation
To the Life Boats

Material Information

Title:
To the Life Boats
Creator:
Goerk, David
Affiliation:
Art -- Art and Art History
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
Publisher:
College of the Arts; University of Florida
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Master of Fine Arts (M))
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Degree Disciplines:
Art
Committee Chair:
Miller, Sean Owen
Committee Members:
Smith, Nan S
Vega, Sergio G

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Art exhibitions ( jstor )
Boats ( jstor )
Bronzes ( jstor )
Hats ( jstor )
Installation art ( jstor )
Rafts ( jstor )
Ropes ( jstor )
Seas ( jstor )
Viewers ( jstor )
Visual arts ( jstor )
Genre:
Project in Lieu of Thesis

Notes

Abstract:
To the Life Boats is an installation featuring an assemblage of artworks lashed together to form a raft as the central component (figure 1). The raft is designed to accommodate the physical, communal, and spiritual needs of Man. The installation is made up of independent sculptures whose foundations are built upon life preserving inner tubes that operate simultaneously as sculptural elements and as a pedestal. Individual pieces come together to form one platform suggesting both the life raft and the island. By using modular construction, pieces can be created and then added or removed from the assemblage. As the project evolves and is shown in various contexts, new arrangements, choices, and sculptural components may be included.
Abstract:
Autobiographical, historical, philosophical, literary, and artistic influences are included in the artwork. Values such as self-sufficiency and community are introduced through satire to question notions of art, property, and doomsday preparedness. By combining a universal understanding the nature of humanity and a personal study of my own purpose, place, and people that surround me, this work provides an opportunity for viewers to reconsider their ideas concerning values, property, and direction.
General Note:
Sculpture terminal project
Statement of Responsibility:
by David Michael Goerk

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright David Goerk. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
1022120751 ( OCLC )

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1 TO THE LIFE BOATS By DAVID GOERK A 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 UNIVERSITY OF F LORIDA 201 5

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2 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I thank my committee members. Sean Miller my committee chair for his guidance , patience , and friendship. Nan Smith for her encouragement and interest in my life and work . Sergio Vega for his inspiration and wisdom . Thank you Mallory Scottow for seeing and believing the best in me . I cannot imagine this year or this work without you.

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3 © David Michael Goerk 2015

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4 TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWL EDGEMENT S ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ.É2 COPYRIGHTÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ . ÉÉÉÉÉÉ.É3 ABSTRACTÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ...ÉÉ .É5 INTRODUCTION.. ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ ÉÉ..ÉÉÉ..6 I DECIDED TO BUILD A BOAT ÉÉÉÉÉ ÉÉ. ÉÉÉ. ÉÉ.ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ..8 PREVIOUSLY. ..ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ. ÉÉ.ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ . É 12 TO THE LIFE BOATSÉÉÉÉ ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ. ÉÉ.ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ16 CONCLUSION..ÉÉÉÉÉ ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ. ÉÉ.ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ.26 WORKS CITEDÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ ..ÉÉ ÉÉÉÉÉ....ÉÉÉÉ.28 FIGURESÉÉ... ÉÉÉÉÉ ÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉÉ..ÉÉ ÉÉÉÉÉ....ÉÉÉÉ É29

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5 Summary of Proje ct 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 TO THE LIFEBOATS By David Michael Goerk July 2015 Chair: Sean Miller Major: Art To the Life Boats is an installation featuring an assemblage of artworks lashed together to form a raft as the central component ( figure 1) . The raft is designed to accommodate the physical, communal, and spiritual needs of Man. The installation is made up of independent sculptures whose foundations are built upon life preserving inner tubes that operate simultaneo usly as sculptural elements and as a pedestal. Individual pieces come together to form one platform suggesting both the life raft and the island. By using modular construction, pieces can be created and then added or removed from the assemblage. As the project evolves and is shown in various contexts, new arrangements, choices, and sculptural components may be included. Autobiographical, histori cal, philosophical, literar y, and artistic influences are included in the art work. Values such as self sufficiency and community are introduced through satire to question notions of art, property, and doomsday preparedness. By combining a universal underst anding the nature of humanity a nd a personal study of my own purpose, pla ce, and people that surround me , this work provides an opportunity for viewer s to recons ider their ideas concerning values, property, and direction.

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6 INTRODUCTION: A year ago I was fishing from a stone Jetty, when a gust of wind blew off my hat. It fell into the sea, and I watched it float out of arm ' s reach. I hesitated too long to retrieve it with the rod tip. Baited lines were in the water and I was expecting my big fish. I figur ed the hat would soon wash back along the rocks, but misjudged the tide. Deciding to get it back, I pulled in a line and attached a floating lure. Casting over the hat I attempted to snag it while reeling in line. Although, aiming past my target, the line fell to the left or right, and sometimes short. While adding more weight and more treble hooks the hat kept moving farther away. I continued like this for nearly an hour, casting farther out, walking up and down the rocks while trying to calculate the corr ect angle that would intersect with its path. I should have jumped in after it. R eligion, Society, and Nature; these are the three struggles of man . These three conflicts are, at the same time, his three needs: it is necessary for him to believe, hen ce the temple; it is necessary for him to create, hence the city; it is necessary for him to live, hence the plow and the ship. But these three solutions contain three conflicts. The m ysterious difficulty of life springs from all three. Man has to deal with obstacles under the form of superstition, under the form of pr ejudice, and under the form of the elem ents. A triple anake [ necessity ] weighs upon us: the anake of dogmas, the anake of laws, the anake of things. In Notre Dame de Paris the author has denounced the

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7 first; in Les Miserablees he has pointed out the second, in this book he indicates the third. With these three fatalities which envelop man is mingled the interior fatality, that supreme anake, the human heart. Victor Hugo Toilers of the S ea (3) Form fo llows function. My function is clear. I am an artist and I make sculptures. Ayn Rand defines art as a " selective re creation of reality according to an artist's metaphysical value judgments. " I have adopted this as my definition of art. As an artist I function as an observing, processing, and creating individual. For my thesis exhibition , I wanted to create a sculptural vehicle that would allow for the inclusion of political , spir i tual, and artistic ideas. I wanted to produce a work th at would exhibit my craftsmanship , and the opportunity to work with a variety of materials . I decided to build a boat. The type of vessel that would form the foundation of my work was not yet decided, but I was set on the idea of "a boat".

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8 I DECIDED TO BUILD A BOAT: A b oat's physical space provides an opportunity to display ideas, while carrying the metaphor of a vessel with the power to change one's life. A boat can carry fishing gear, cargo, lives , and the possibilities of some thing greater . Due to the limitations that come from packing a small craft , careful d ecisions need to be made. Too much will sink he r, and what is taken must be considered as a possible life and death decision. I wanted to portray things of importance that were rele v ant to a ll people. The boat suggests life is valuable , and the pursuit or chance of a better life is worth going after. Upon a foundat ion of multiple life preservers, a stage is created on which various elements outfit the vessel. Figureheads, supplies, and land are presented as art objects that provide clues to the vessel ' s function. Handcrafted wood and bronze work comingle with readymade objects. Practical choices of supplies are shown, but the specific elements chosen suggest symbolic metaphor, rathe r than supplies that would be taken on an actual rafting trip. A shovel, stores of survival biscuits , an anchor, his chair, fresh water, a life raft retrieval stick, needle and thread, rope, an axe, fishing gear, a knife, flask, nylon stockings, oars, chi ckens, something to drink, radio, a sink , reading material s , salt, and lamp light are necessities , and t hey are included on the raft. The form of the vessel and the contents included suggest a particular kind of journey ( figure 2) . This w ork describes a jo urney I have traveled, one I have been prepari ng for, and one that I want the viewer to relate to. When choosing the practical tools and equipment to begin the journey I have taken Thoreau's advice when outfitting the craft.

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9 At present day, and in this country, as I find by my own experience, a few implements, a knife, and axe, a spade, a wheelbarrow, &c., and for the studious, lamplight, stationary, and access to a few books, rank next to necessaries, and can all be obtained at a trifling cost. Henry Da vid Thoreau, Walden (12) The size of my installation To the Life Boats and the inclusion of multiple watercolor paintings encourage the viewer to move through and investigate individual parts of a whole. The choice to work in an installation came from a d esire to deliver the clearest picture of my studies while presenting them in a tight configuration. Installation has been used as an expedient to show a larger body of work. Similar to Maurizio Catalan's 2011 retrospective at the Guggenheim entitled "All ," ( figure 3, Smith 2011) I have chosen the insta llation as a strategy to display not quite all, but "many" things that are important to me and have influenced my life and work. This suggests this project is not finished and has room to grow. I decided to use the archetype of the boat in order to capture the viewer's imagination by giving clues and leaving some questions unanswered . The lure of the unknown, and the possibilities of something more are motivations of the human condition that have pushed people to explore and migrate throughout history. If an individual living today has not dreamed of leaving or sett ing off, their ancestors did. The viewer has either traveled or wanted to, are excited by or fear the unknown. By utilizing the boat, witho ut defining a specific journey, everyone can relate somehow to the work. People may like the sea or not , but is hard to remain indifferent to a

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10 platonic idea . I expect my audience will at l ea st come to the work knowing that if a boat is made well and wor king properly , it should float. I wanted to utilize the boat to carry concerns and propel ideas I wanted to discuss. I was interested in romantic ideas of a greater challenge or purpo se. One of the mo st influential pieces to my work throughout this proj ect has been , Tom Sachs ' Waff l e Bi ke . ( figure 4, Sachs, 2008) For this project Sach's created a bicycle to take him on a journey in the hopes of finding the two chickens that he requires to lay the golden eggs needed to complete the perfect waffle. An item ized description of the manifest is read off in meticulous detail, as the bicycles origin and creation is described in film documenting the bicycles quest. There is a place for all of the items that may be required on the journey, and it seems that every possible obstacle was anticipated . His clearly stated and eccentric goal and his inventive sculptural solution was inspirational. I wanted my boat to have a goal and began to plan out possible destinations. Sailing across open water for a woman or the c apture of a great animal were early ideas that got the project started . When planning for this journey I was reminded: Now listen, you who say, "Today I will go to this city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why you do not know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say if it is the Lords will, we will live and do this or that". New International Version, James 4:13 15

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11 My project became m uch more about being prepared, and being ready to go, than as preparation for an expected journey to a specific place. The idea of looking for a lost hat became a stand in for any clearly defined destination point . The element of the project that I enjoye d most about Waffle Bike was that a goal was sought after and pla n ned for . Although a specific goal was named and sought after, I was most interested in the idea that something was planned for and obtained. Chickens or eggs a goal was what Sachs was phys ically pursuing, but the goal seemed so arbitrary that I believed the goal was metaphorical. Where I was going and what I was looking for remained vague , but the fact that I , as an individual , was building and planning became clear. Decisions about the destination and function of the craft remained intentionally loose, while reflections of myself in the work were given priority . Questions about the appearance of masculinity in the craft and the objects that are brought are answered by the re alization t hat this is my boat and i t was created with myself in mind as the first observer and possible user . Various elements within the assemblage are read as masculine because I selected and built them . References to the raft as female, follows a maritime tradi tion carried over from the romance languages in which all ships were referred to as female. I intended to make a craft that viewers co uld im agine themselves boarding to pursue their own personal white wh ale s , waffle s, or hats . In this manner , I saw the boat as poetic rather than functional. Although practical considerations were thought through and the individual tubes are built with materials a nd integrity that I expect to float, the raft is not in its current state suited for open water. I did not b uild it with the express purpose of car rying men or materials, but rather ideas and values.

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12 Studying in Florida has made boats an obvious choice to include in my p ractice. The proximity to the o cean and the Gulf bro ught many stories of the sea. L ives we re saved and lost at sea. The boat can be a powerful image of hope or the bear er of bad news. Wes Modes proj e ct A Secret History of American River People ( figure 5, Modes, 2015) exposes a disappearance of river culture by traveling on a shanty boat and r ecording the lives and stories of people he meets along the way. This project establishes the role of the boat and water in peoples lives, but speaks on a specific problem affecting only a small group of people. PREVIOUSLY: I pla n ned to utilize a boat a s a platform to carry the socio political content that I was discussing in previous work. As a Lib ertarian , my work often critique s existing systems wh ile defending personal values, including the benefits of capitalism such as private property , f reedom, a nd natural rights . My sculptures perform the role of semi functional object s . I nspired by the works of Atelier Van Lieshout (AVL) ( figure 6 , Atelier, 2013 ) and Andrea Zittel ( figure 7, Zittel, 2009 ) who regularly produce sculptural works that offer altern ative systems for living that simultaneously critique and improve existing sy stems by offering a better competing system , I make sculptures that highlighted problems, by suggesting solutions . An example of this type of early wo rk was a self contained bank ing system The First Bank of Goerk, 2012 ( figure 8 ) . This project involved the printing of an alternative cur re ncy that would represent a warehoused object. Safe possession of objects was personally guaranteed, until the receipt of a coupon entitled the Goerkmark was redeemed . By personally taking over the responsibilities of securing valuables and printing money I created an alternative system that could successfully compete with a fiat

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13 money system. This system was inspired by the way banks were histor ically meant to and thought to operate. The normalization of the disappearance of civil liberties is a consistent sub ject throughout my work. I have am interested in issues surrounding personal liberty, and often w ork with various topics that related to this theme. My own m ilitary deployment, the economy, and our nation' s domestic and foreign policies influence my work. The work I produce stems form a f eeling that we are often affected by actions, but do not realize the chain of events that has taken p lac e to bring them into existence. The goal of my work is to use sculpture to demonstrate my views of contemporary events. Various "vehicles" were used to carry specific subject ma t ter. The Drone, as seen in Drone Campaign Mode, 2012 ( figure 9 ) was used to personi fy a faceless government over stepping boundaries , and the board game demonstrated in Housing Bubble the Board Game, 2013 ( figure 10 ) was utilized as a model to explain how the world w orked while raising questions about participation and approva l. Piece of Mind (figure 11) was an earlier piece that suggested a problem but also provided the possibility of alternative . This piece allowed for simultaneous critique and presentation of a solution. Its creation suggests a value and a desire for som e where else , while proposing evidence that a goal exists and is obtainable . Piece of mind caries the spirit of To the Life Boats, and was a predecessor to many ideas that were included in my thesis work. Piece of Mind offered a much more ambiguous readi ng than some of previous work. The goal of the piece was to suggest alternatives rather than merely pointing out things that bothered me. Q ues tions of about why this piece was built and an unclear function, allowed for more personal responses to

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14 the work . Viewers have the opportunity to personally answer the questions they propose. Destinations as well as problems were intentionally vague. The boat offers critiques and address specific issues, but the project operates much more broadly than some of my previous work. To the Life Boats allows me to not only point out problems but also allows me to suggest solutions. The appearance of s urvival has beco me a central component in my work as competing ideologies, forces , and natural disasters threatened Ame rican cultur e. Images of floods, tornados, and fire are frequently shown amidst popular news stories concerning terrorism, race relations, national debt, health care, public privacy, and the possibilities of nuclear war. The National Geographic Channel 's television program is seen as one of many symptom s of a world that is scared for the future and has begun to take precautions . My work raises concerns that societ y may be preparing to rapidly fall apart . It also asks whether there are still those who ca n rebuild the world after the fall. Craftsmanship was utilized as an aesthet ic to show value and identify things I cared for . Individual decisions and pi eces were hand crafted out of milled lumber. Bronze elements were c arved in wax and poured. Ready m ades were carefully selected, as preparations were made . The inclusion o f a rope that struggles to hold the raft together is a hasty attempt at grabbing and holding on. The planning that is shown in individual pieces is disturbed by the clumsy attempt to keep the larger form together. Thro ughout this project I debated what form the final installation would become. The idea of a boat as a tool for survival was powerful, but the application of any boat as "the boat" was

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15 limiting. Particular sizes and mod els dictated the way the project would be understood , and made the work less universal. As various styles and sizes were considered they each had implicit restrictions. A riverboat may be understood very differently than a speedy pleasure craft. Simpl ification of the foundation of the structure allowed the freedom to work with the idea of something that would float, without the baggage of regional or historic contexts. The concept of the boat as life saving device was simplified into the form of the l ife preserving inner tube. A series of life preserving inner tubes were chosen as the foundation from which to build my thesis work. The switch from the vague idea of a boat to the more specific lashing together of life preservers was a natural solution to many questions ( figure 12 ) . At once it established my views on art and life as ideals worth defending. Art does have a purpose and does serve a human need; only it is not a material need, but a need of man's consciousness. Art is inextricably tied t o man's survival not to his physical survival, but to that on which his physical survival depends: to the preservation and survival of his consciousness. Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto The use of the inner tubes as a reoccurring element, allowed the a bility for the project to grow as an expanding body of work. By focusing on the whole insta llation as a group of individual parts I was not limited by the confines of a s ingle vessel. Early in the project , I saw the possibility of a central cluster of ob jects in which others could be added or removed from the group. Similar to the con struction of the International Space S tation, individual pieces addressing specific

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16 concerns could be added or removed from the piece. Using a reoccurring shape allowed pie ces to be separate from an assemblage while remaining identifiable as individual elements of the larger body of work. This provided freedom to specifically address topics and still remain flexible by discussing life more broadly. As the project evolves a nd is shown in various contexts, new arrangements, choices, and sculptural components may be included. These will have the option of reflecting the site and times of the installation, but will still carry elements of the universal needs of h umanity. My f ath er would often tell my brother and I of a vision he had. He would explain to his twin eight year olds that he was sure that a woman with a boat would come in the night. She would tell the family to get on the boat and if they were ready and all the ba gs were packed we could escape. This could have been an elaborate ruse to maintain order, discipline, and clean rooms, but I remember a level of urgency when h e told the story that seemed unnecessary. My childhood was filled with the promise of boats a nd stories of boats that had never arrived or were missed. My Dad would tell stories of his boat and weekends on the three rivers surrounding Pit tsburgh. It was difficult for me as a child to unders tand why his father had a boat, and did not have one any more. The story got more confusing when I would piece together stories that the boat was given away to escape a past. He would tell us about his time spent in the Navy and how aircraft carriers worked. I wanted to have these experiences. When I joined the Navy , my deployments were spent on Marine air bases and in land locked countries.

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17 TO THE LIFE BOATS: I have not been to sea , but I think I know what Herman Melville was describing in his opening lines when Ishmael explains his desire to leave. Ha ving little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on s hore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the water part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find my self growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upp er hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking peoples hats off then, I account it high time to get to the sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pisto l and ball, with a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon this sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me. Herman Melville, Mobey Dick My projects title To the Life Boats suggests an impe n ding problem may be on t he horizon, and this is evidence of someone preparing to "get the heck out of dodge." The alternate interpretation of th e title, acts a s a toast, celebrating planning and foresight. An accumulation of individual pieces is lashed together with a single rope creating a raft. The life raft represents as a

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18 moment between destruction and rescue . It depicts the moment after a disaster and also the potential for salvation. There is a paradox in the work that one may interoperate in an optimistic or pessimistic manner. The work allows for either a " glass that is half full or half empty" interpretation. I leave the act of dec iding to the viewer. Optimists can recognize the possibilities that could arise from leaving. Potential adventure introduces a l evel of excitement and new possibilities on the horizon . The happy side of exodus suggests, starting from scratch and taking o nly what you need. The work states that there are things are worth taking and places worth going compounded with invitations to escape or a desire to leave a troubled past or problem . The form of the life raft offers a practical physical platform from which I could present ideas in digestible portions. The inner tub es acting as pedestals and the e ntire raft structure acting as a stage or platform states that some thing s are important and significant. Richard Serra , in a 2001, interview stated that in the history of sculpture the significance of art coming off of the pedestal w as " Enormous and probably the biggest thing to happen in the t wentieth century. Once it got off the pedestal you no longer looked at an object that was depicting a realistic aspect of either a hero, or something to idealize, or something to worship, or something to be seen as something apart from the space you are in. Once it cam e off the pedestal it was in exactly the same behavioral space that you were in, so you had to dea l with it in relation to time and space not as something removed from you."

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19 However, to me the pedestal has always remained a useful element in exhibiting art and f or distinguishing other objects of importance. The pedestal gives sculptural elements a fr ame, and es tablishes were the object begins and ends. It gives the work a neutral background suggesting that the work may exist in many more places outsid e of the particular room it happens to be in at the time. The inner tubes in my installation, alth ough not aesthetically neutral, take on some of the functionality of the traditional white cube pedestal. In an actual raft they would protect and float objects of importance above other objects and so, like the pedestal they become a physical element that sa ves the significant objects and collected items ( figure 13 ) . They are at once symbolic and pragmatic in the way the y signify importance. By working with a consistent base I establish a system by which values can be highlighted. The se values are deriv ed from my understanding of the world and are influenced heavily by objectivist philosophy . Consciously or subconsciously, explicitly or implicitly, man knows that he needs a comprehensive view of existence to integrate his values, to choose his goals, to plan his future, to maintain the unity and coherence of his life Ñ and that his metaphysical value judgments are involved in every moment of his life, in his every choice, decision and action. Metaphysics Ñ the science that deals with the fundamental natur e of reality Ñ involves man's widest abstractions. It includes every concrete he has ever perceived, it involves

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20 such a vast sum of knowledge and such a long chain of concepts that no man could hold it all in the focus of his immediate conscious awareness. Y et he needs that sum and that awareness to guide him Ñ he needs the power to summon them into full, conscious focus. That power is given to him by art. Ayn Rand , The Romantic Manifesto (8) Art is the truest reflection of a man's soul that can be seen in ph ysical form. Although man can and should be judged, according to his deeds actions and words, these indicators when taken out of context may be misleading or arbitrary. Everyone has had moments of pride and triumph as well just as times when they have fall en short, sometimes these actions are seen, acknow ledged or overlooked entirely. I t is through the artwork that action and intention can not be overlooked. Through a work the artist proclaims that t his subject is significant . Form defines what is to be co nsidered and style is indicative of the artist ' s tone and opinion. The action of creation does not only show what the artist has done and can do, but more importantly shows the viewer what they believe is most worthy of being seen . The choice to display my thesis bo dy of work as an installation was made because it allowed the broadest range of my work and clearest vision as an artist and man. The nature of this exhibition l ends itself to installation . Due to the requirements and specifications at the Un iversity Gallery, an artist is asked to sum up their practice into a form that will fit within a twenty foot box. I have invited the viewer into a space and provided evidence stating many of my views on life and by what means art should convey those thoug hts. Installation was chosen as a deliberate attempt

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21 to include all that I could. All ideas and projects could not be include d and some that appear ed to contradict the larger body of work were omi t ted . I have made every attempt to leave out the arbitrar y, and only include intentional statements. My work can be understood as a selective re creation. Those that feel that art is outside the province of reason would be well advised to leave this book alone: it is not for them. Those that know that nothin g is outside the province of reason will find in this book the base of a rational esthetics. It is the absence of such a base that has made today's obscenely grotesque degradation of art possible. Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto (8) As an installation this work is capable of be ing viewed from multiple vantage points . This decision is made so that the mind can take in various individual parts and process them before considering the work as a whole. Recent interpretations of installation art have not in fluenced my work and should not be considered when discerning meaning in the work. The rise of installation art is simultaneous with the emergence of theories of the subject as decentred is one of the basic assumptions on which this book turns, These theo ries, which proliferate in the 1970's and are broadly describable as postructuralist, seek to provide an alternative to the idea of the viewer that is implicit in Renaissance perspective: that is, instead of a rational, centered, coherent humanist subject, postst ructu ralist theory argues that each person is intrinsically dislocated and divided, at odds with him or herself. In short, it states that the correct way in which to view our

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22 condition as human subjects is as fragmented, multiple and decentred by u nconscious desires and anxieties, by an interdependent and differential relationship to the world, or by pre existing social structures. Clair Bishop, Installation Art (13) My value judgments in life are reflected by those decisions I have made in art. W hat I value and care for is in the work and is there to find if you care to look for it. If my personal life is of little interest to the viewer, I trust there are elements within the work that they can enjoy and hope they do not find this work entirely u seless. I have seen my twin brother Jonathan, cry when he speaks of his sausage gravy with the self assurance of Richard Serra in his Charlie Rose interview. If these men are modest, and Thoreau was indeed boastful as Chanticleer in the morning, at this moment I fall somewhere in between. The life raft has become a system to create individual pieces of work, while e mbedding within the piece the unified function of raising the values above water. Brancusi established that t he pedestal becomes no more im portant or less important than the work. In a ddition to stating "look at me!" This pedestal states, " look at me, and value me because I can benefit you. " At its simplest , the formula I have been utilizing for creating work has been to focus on something that has va lue and then establish it on or into a t ube. I then attach cleats. Objects of value have been defined in three ways. Something that fulfills or acts as a metaphor for the physical need s , s omething that fulfills or ai ds the communal needs , or s o mething that fulfills the s piritual need s of humanity .

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23 At the head of the ra ft stands the figure of a woman, and it may be that this is the woman that my father was speaking of. I have been waiting for her to come, and she remains the most physical mani festation of his vision that I have seen, but I did not think of that connection until she was underway. The personification of wisdom is described in Proverbs 1: 20 Wisdom calls aloud in the street She raises her voice in the public square at the he ad of the noisy street she cries out In the gateways of the city she makes her speech . At a time when I felt a fool, I read her admonition, and wanted her to guide me. I have placed her in the position of the leading figure head ( figure 14 ) . Her posture is one of power, leaning forward into the el ements while turning her back to the pas sengers of the raft. She in a position of leadership and depicted as woman scorned, but worth chasing after. A bronze figure of Atlas is suspended from a central tube ( f igure 15 ) . He is attached directly through cleats and in one hand is grasping the rope in which holds the vessel together. Diverging from the myth of a man burdened to carry the weight of the world, this figure acts as a rudder more than one offering suppo rt. He is a guiding influence and the second of three figureheads on the craft, but his pose and demeanor suggest an action of aiding the vessel, rather than its savior. Atlas's strong physique is reminiscent of a rescue swimmer, but his composure suggest s this

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24 vessel does not need saving. He is included as an homage, rather than as a necessary element of survival. Atlas swims as if he were invited on the journey and jumped in to help the voyage. The third figure head is found through the combination of a Harley Davison headlamp and a jar of s alt ( figure 16 ) . The famed "bar and shield" logo of a n American i con can be found in the center of the headlamp. A jar of salt is tied to the lamp. A passage in Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea describes the old ma n ' s frustration at not brin g ing salt on his trip. Salt on his boat would have made the raw fish he ate more palatable . Objects that can at first be seen only as two use ful elements to aid a journey, gain significance when metaphorical symbolism is consid ered. Mathew 5:13 15 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It in no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the Light of the word. A city on a hill cann ot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead the put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Unlike the previous figurehead s that operate as guiding influences, this figure head operates as an idealize d version of myself. I am shown through qualities we are challenged to posses rather than through physical attributes. An artist has th e capability of preser ving what is good and the opportunity of showing that to the world .

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25 Two of the rafts carry soil and grass ( figure 17 ) . These elements are a recreation of the world, and are t aken to act as a substitute until one reaches one's desti nation. Thoreau was comforted with dreams of the Holloway farm. He could see and take pleasure in visiting his perfect spot of land. I have not found my heaven on earth, but I suspect that a couple square feet will appear at some season of the year as I have presented them. It is enough square footage to st and on, and that will be enough to hold me over. Ol d Cato, whose "De Re Rustica" is my cultivator," says, and the only translation I ha v e seen makes sheer nonsense of the passage, "when you think of getting a farm, turn it thus in your mind, not to buy greedily; not spare your pains to look at it, and do not think it enough to go round it once. T he oftener you go there the more it will please you, if it is good." Henry David Thoreau, Walden I have not found the plot of land I dream about, and do not know if it will still be there when I am prepar ed to make an offer. Until I find the place I am looking for, To the Life Boats is my Holloway Farm. Three paintings accompany the sculptural work providi ng context through planning, motivation, and possible future implementations of the work ( figure 18 ) . The first Residence ( figure 19 ) depicts a pair of chickens t hat have set up nests in mailboxes a top earth laden tubes . The formula is at work again depi cting the evidence of humanity through the presence of some

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26 elemen ts that support life. The mail box establishes residence and private property, as well as the need and desire for community, and news from afar. A hand held HAM Radio is one of a pair of identical paintings differe ntiated by the markings on label s readi ng "Brother 1" and "Brother 2 " ( figure 20 ) . A communal need is seen again . Two brothers separated operate a s a n example of individuals who should be together or at least keep in touch . P lan B ( figure 21 ) illustrates the formula expressed exponentially . A shipping container floats atop hundreds of tubes. There are variables in this equation that are not answered in the painting. What is being shipped, why, and where are not deducible. The title is indicative that a previous plan has failed or at least is in question enough to prompt a back up. Tubes floating on a blank page suggest freedom from more than the flood. The airship is implied and more destinations and departures become pos sible as the imagina tion sees potential escapes and goals. CONCLUSION: Mary Ann Sures writes in her article Metaphysics in Marble , " Philosophy is the sculptor of a man's soul. And Sculpture is philosophy in stone (Sures, 1969) . " To the Life Boats is a philosophy in mixed media. My philosophy recognizes myself as a man, dependent on the world for substance, others because it is not good for man to be alone, and God for purpose. I have const ructed my work hoping someone could see my deeds and be as excited as the chaplain in the climax of Joseph Heller's Catch 22 .

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27 ÔIt's a miracle, a miracle of human intelligence and human endurance. Look how much he accomplished!' the chaplain clutched his head with both ha n ds and doubled over in laughter. ÔCan't you just picture him?' He exclaimed with amazement. ÔCant you just picture him in that yellow raft, paddling through the Straits of Gibraltar at night with that tiny little blue oar ' ÔWith that fishing line tailing out behind him, ea ting raw codfish all the way to Sweden, and serving himself tea every afternoon ' ÔI can just see him!' cried the chaplain, pausing a moment in his celebration to catch his breath. ÔIt's a miracle of h uman perseverance, I tell you. A n d that just what I'm going to do from now on! I'm going to persevere. Yes that's just what I'm going to do from now on! I'm going to persevere.' Joseph Heller, Catch 22 (556) I did not end with this quote to boast of my own work. My thesis has prompted me as well to conside r what is important and worth taking with me. The glory I am showing is not my own. I myself am a creation, and glory belongs to the creator.

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28 WORKS CITED Atelier Van Lieshout. (2013). Atelier Van Lieshout . Retrieved 4 22, 2015, from Works: http://www.ateliervanlieshout.com Bishop, C. (2005). Installation Art: A Critical H istory. New York: Routledge. Heller, J. (1961). Catch 22 : A N ovel . New York: Simon and Schuster. Hugo, V., & Th omas, W. M. (196 1). Toilers of The S ea . London: Dent. Melville, H. (1964). Moby Dick: or, The W hale . Indianapolis: Bobbs Merrill. Modes, W. (2015). A Secret History of the American River People . Retrieved 4 22, 2015, from Modes.io: http://modes.io/secret history of amer ican river people/ Rand, A. (1969). The Romantic Manifesto: A Philosophy of L iterature. New York: World Pub. Co. Sachs, T. (2008). Tom Sachs: Work/ Waffle Bike . Retrieved 4 22, 2015, from Tom Sachs: http://www.tomsachs.org/work/waffle bik e Smith, R. (2011, 11 03). A Suspensiion of Willfull Disbelief . Retrieved 4 22, 2015, from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/04/arts/design/maurizio cattelan at the guggenheim review.html Sures, M. A. (1969, Feburary an d March). Metaphysics in Marble . Retrieved April 23, 2015, from Objectivism and Thoreau, H. D. (1960). Walden: o r, L ife in the Woods: and, On the Duty of Civil D isobedience. New York: New American Library. Zittel, A. (2009). AZ . Retrieved 4 22, 2015, fr om Works: http://www.zittel.org/works

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29 FIGURES F igure I , To the Life Boats, mixed media installation, Master of Fine Arts: Thesis Exhibition II, University Gallery, University of Florida, 2015

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30 Figure 2, To the Life Boats (detail with shovel) , wood, bronze, steel, rope, foam, 2015 Figure 3, All, Maurizio Cattelan, Retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, 2011

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31 Figure 4, Tom Sachs, Waffle Bike, 2008

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32 Figure 5, Wes Modes, The Secret Life of het American River People , 2015 5

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33 Figure 6 , Atelier Van Lieshout, Saw Mill/ Cheese Maker , 2013 Figure 7 , Andrea Zittel, Indy Island , 2009

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34 Figure 8, First Bank of Goerk , wood, steel, paper and ink , 2012

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35 F igure 9 , Drone (Campaign Mode), foam, rubber, helium, electronics , 2012

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36 Figure 10 , Housing Bubble the Board Game , wood, ceramics, rubber, metal , 2013

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37 Figure 11 , Piece of Mind, wood, leather, earth, grass, plastic, 2013

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38 F igure 12 , To th e Life Boats (det ail with rope ) , wood, bronze, metal, rope, 2015

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39 F igure 13 , Sink Tube, wood, porcelain, bronze, metal, 2015

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40 F igure 14 , Wisdom's Admonition, bronze, wood, 2015

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41 F igure 15 , Atlas Swam, wood, bronze, 2015

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42 F igure 16 , Salt and Light, wood, metal, bron ze, salt, glass, 2015

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43 F igure 17 , Green Pastures , earth, grass, foam, bronze, 2015 F igure 18 , To th e Life Boats (detail of paintings ) , watercolor, paper, 2015

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44 F igure 19 , Residence, 22x15, watercolor, paper, 2015

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45 F igure 20 , Brother 1, 22x15 , wate rcolor, paper, 2015

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46 F igure 21 , Plan B, 22x15 , watercolor, paper, 2015


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