Art, Art History and Design, School of


Date of this Version



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


Memories form, memories fade, and memories are lost. Small cavities of emptiness replace memories that have drifted away, where they then spread like thin cracks on the surface and diverge to form a void. Within the hollows of these voids, perplexities in mental and physical conditions emerge. Such perplexities of the void have captured my attention. With this body of Sculpture, defining and embodying the mental void within a physical presence is my ultimate goal. Methods have been instituted to aid in the creation and definition of the nonentity. Skins are developed to encase a void, enabling one to see the unseen. Fluid and static movements through the pliable, porous, and solid materials construct and deconstruct the voids. Scales in the work shift as the severity of the voids increase and decrease. With repetition, I find myself searching for the missing piece as I continuously circle the void. Such voids become an obvious recurrence throughout my sculptures, and the negated space is as significant as the physical elements themselves. The need to see the void realized spawns an intense fixation, forming to the point of insomnia. My own parasitical natures take a turn in this persistent and repetitive action, repeatedly composing and patterning materials, creating circular forms, seemingly protecting the void. These tendencies are instrumental in perpetrating the creation of objects that hold empty space. Fabricated steel joints and brackets embrace sections oflaminated wood, while excessively repeated actions of cut fabrics, alongside masses of found objects, form alternate versions of the same void. This quiet visual movement is a dialog of materials absorbing each other's shape; and the process is a self-indulging, parasitic or selfperpetuating need for repetition. These voids are symbolic icons of stillness in movement that never moves. Gradual shifts in the joints push and pull each other in silence. Vast amounts of the same material, stacked and strung together, create a fixed and synchronized movement around the void. Silently the void is formed, rearranging space, moving the physical aside, and attempting to retrieve the lost. A voided space has found sanctuary within the sculpture, yet it also finds its prison. The guardian is exaggerated as ribs form around the unseen. Blemished and delicate, the surface is vainly hiding nothing as it acts as the suffocating shelter of the voided space. Silence, which surrounds the empty spaces in this visual movement, is screaming yet it emits no sound. The reverberation of this absence is more effectively felt than the space consumed by the physical elements of the sculptures themselves. It is impossible to avoid the chaos in the empty space that is seemingly calm, neither used nor dismissed. Sheltered by its skin, the protector of what is not there, emptiness is secured. Increasingly unsteady, these sculptures sit perched on edge, intensifying the risk of failure. Still they stand full of potential energy, on the verge of either mutating or stagnating. Their futures are uncertain: Out of this emerges a metaphor for dependence and independence, trust and distrust. Discord and accord coexist within the work, where its physical balance becomes the duality between the void and the physical substance of the sculpture. Parallel to one's reliance on others, addictions, habits, and even religions, connections and disconnections coexist. Vacant elements in the sculpture are independent from the physical, despite the fact that they are, in reality, solely dependant on the physical. Symbiotic relationships have been forged. The sculpture does not exist without the empty space, just as the void does not exist without the sculpture. Stability between the two is a delicate but strong balance. Beneath the surface is an endless exploration into the numbness of being lost and standing still. Strange comfort is found in this empty space, and thoughts of nothing coil together, circling each other to create an even larger void. Sleep escapes and the stare of the void, though empty, is always watching and always there. Within these hollows I have searched for silence, but have found nothing but an intensified sleepless seeing - my view of the void. Seeing nothing and watching everything, the insomniac continues to gaze, listening to the sound that is never truly there. Dreams and death become dimensions of the same thing as the voids are now looking outwards. Persistence in circular forms holding the emptiness of a voided space memorize each and every minute of their own conception. The absent has won and the voids never wane. A memory is lost. All that remains is its residue and the endless hold of its space. This becomes the non-entity, the void, a broken space, a gaping hole of what once was.