Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program

Studio Arts


Judy Pfaff

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Emma Thomas

Artist Statement

I am constantly intrigued by everyday patterns, from wood grain and fish netting to farm fields and silk carpets. Initially, I started the piece by creating my own pattern. By roughly folding and unfolding paper, I began to see the suggestion of a pattern within the flat material. This process of folding and cutting geometric shapes quickly became an obsession.

Once the pieces were made, I began to think about ways of making them into physical forms that were unfamiliar. The creation of these forms mimicked the pattern with which they were embossed. However, I was able to morph the paper into different shapes and styles not just with my hands but also with my entire body. I discovered the structure through my personal rhythm as well as the manipulation of small detail.

As I was thinking about pattern and structure in my artwork, I was engrossed in a science class about light, color and paint that simultaneously found its way into my project. The electromagnetic spectrum extending from low to high frequencies creates certain colors based off of the different wavelengths. Thinking about color and different spectrums of light,I used spray paint to create a space with different arrangements of color and shadows. The spectrum of light and reflectance curves regarding saturation and brightness inspired my attitude toward color.

I created a “light room” where I used mirrors and reflecting paper to show different rainbows of color. The colors formed in that room became the basis for the color on the floor and paper of my work. In an attempt to recycle everything, I used the floor of my space as my color palate, choosing specific areas, at a time, so that everything would be touched by the same color spectrum.

Science was not the only influence that I incorporated into my piece. Using my interest in dance, I ventured around the space to choreograph my pieces in order to invite the viewer deeper into the piece. As a dancer, I performed and attacked my space, as if it were a stage allowing every form to have a purpose and a position. I wanted to give the viewer a playful environment, which reflected the way I interacted with it while creating it.

The work needed to have the technicality of printmaking in order for me to feel comfortable to work in a more sculptural form. When I was unable to physically be in the studio space, I had a tendency of drawing in my graph notebooks textile patterns to relax me. They helped me relieve stress knowing that I was still thinking about different forms of lines and color. These drawings also found their way into the final piece as well.

A while ago I tried to remove the printing press from my work and found a form that gives me other ways of marking a space without using ink. It also gave me the ability to use my body to move the work and myself around constantly. It is difficult for me to stand still, and this final project gave me an environment to move and control, as if I were choreographing a dance piece. By incorporating dance, the science of light, and sculpture I was able to create a final project that was a culmination of the things I’ve learned over the past several years. I was also able to create a body of work that, on many levels, expresses who I am.

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