Date of Submission

Fall 2011

Academic Program

Studio Arts

Project Advisor 1

Ken Buhler

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Devra Fox

Studio Art Senior Thesis

December 2011

Artist Statement:

Proof of Me

‘Sculpture is inorganic tangible proof of me, more fitting and adorable than a headstone.’ - Jil Spitzer-Fox 1981, Graduate Thesis Work

A headstone is certainly not fitting or adorable. My thesis project has been a journey of striving to create something more appropriate, but how can one attempt to capture or give ‘proof’ to even a fraction of someone else’s being?

A common theme that emerges in my art practice is growth and deterioration in connection with the human body and nature. I am fascinated by the parallels, such as the correlation between the stemming of human veins and branches of a tree. I see an overarching connectedness present between our bodies and nature, which I explore in my work. Along with growth and deterioration I often focus on the depiction of a human, from the physical innards and mechanical workings, to our outward appearance, to our emotional and personal existence. Often these ideas are expressed within an autobiographical context.

After my mother passed away in 2009 I came across her graduate thesis writings that she completed in 1981 in support of her master’s degree in art education. As I read through the binder of her writings for the first time, one sentence in particular jumped out to me as the most meaningful and relevant, the quote on the top of the page. The influence of this sentence led me to create this body of work.

In my view we are all collections, collections that accumulate over a lifetime from our culture, family, friends, places and experiences. I gather and create a visual vocabulary from my personal collection to make something palpable and more relevant than a headstone. This vocabulary consists of memories, images, personal objects, places and times drawn from my own experience to show my personal interpretation and relationship with my mother. This process serves as a way for me to process my thoughts, deal with loss and honor her memory.

Through drawing, painting, printing, cutting, reconfiguring, stacking, layering, hiding and exposing I have constructed a series of three-dimensional collages. My process involves a series of steps, usually beginning by creating a drawing, painting or print on a transparent surface. I then take these images and photocopy them in different compositions and layerings to build a new image. Next I combine these photocopies with their original images, a variety of mediums and other printed sources to compose a collage.

These collages serve the same purpose as a reliquary, containing the relics of my conscious and imagination in a physical form to openly display and share. They are often obscured and not always readily understandable, dense in some areas and clear in others, alternating between a mindful comprehension and confusion. In this somewhat disordered state I have synthesized imagery into something more significant and appropriate, that gives proof not only of me, but of my mother as well.

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