Date of Award
College of Visual and Performing Arts
Master of Fine Arts
Michelle Livek Garner
When we enter a room with a bed and dresser, we imagine that someone goes there to sleep. When we enter a larger room, with rows of uniform desks facing a whiteboard or lectern, we understand that people go there to learn. In most cases, the intention for the space and how we are to conduct ourselves in it is determined before the furniture is selected. When we are not privy to those intentions, the furniture itself can offer clues that help us understand what we are to do. As a contemplative device, I apply this framework to the world at large, the collective space for our singular chance at life. It is much more difficult to find compelling signs and signifiers at this expanded level. With the pettiness and polarity of today’s political discourse and the sheer overflow of information that is often superfluous or conflicting, I struggle to find confident footing in creative expression. My thesis sculptures do not aim to clarify the purpose of life or the intentions of the universe. Instead, they stem from the viewpoint that uncertainty is a collective condition, and that however much we romanticize finding meaning for ourselves, in the social world, it must be negotiated. They serve as simple contemplation points to consider complex questions about how we might build meaning among each other. Entitled Negotiating Balance, my thesis exhibition invites viewers to imagine the obstacles, challenges, and rewards to working together.
Soto, Oscar Adolfo, "Negotiating Balance" (2021). Graduate Theses. 135.