Art, Art History and Design, School of


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Fine Arts, Major: Art, Under the Supervision of Professor Mo Neal. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2012

Copyright 2012 Jamie L Fritz


I am obsessed with the pieces of existence; the memories, experiences and emotions that make up human identity. Our lives are defined by entropy that causes these pieces to fragment and become distorted over time. Looking back at the pieces they become almost unrecognizable, and it becomes unclear if they are something or if they are nothing. My work centers on a compulsive desire to put these pieces into something that makes sense. The photograph serves as a representation of the memory and experience, broken down into parts that remove them as a piece of an identifiable whole. The photographs are chosen as fragile objects of nostalgia, with the intent of leading the viewer into the past instead of the present or future. In addition to fragmenting the images, I often destroy them further by burning or marking to continually hint at the inevitable decay memory and experience are subjected to. My materials are chosen for their ephemeral nature, as well as their receptiveness to the destructive actions I take upon them.

These obscured pieces I create quickly become subject to my compulsion for order, much as the actual fragments of my existence do within my mind. Individually the parts take on little meaning, but as a part of a greater whole I can enact significance and structure. The compilation further encourages the identification of the object/image as either something or nothing as it becomes more confrontational in size. More than anything I want this order to give way to meaning. Yet more often than not the combative dualities remain: fragments or whole, something or nothing, important or futile. The more I work with these ideas, however, the more I am beginning to believe that the juxtaposition of these dichotomies is where the true significance lies. Although the creation of this work allows me to investigate these dualities within the studio in both a literal and psychological way, my hope is to open up conversations with the viewer about memory, identity and the entropic human condition.

Advisor: Mo Neal

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