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Hughes, Marie Sierra 1985 , 'M.F.A. documentation', Coursework Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The main source of energy for my concepts Is decay, especially the
paradoxical deterioration of "permanent" markers of past civilizations.
The monuments and public buildings of lost cultures, as well as
tombstones, sarcophagi and other markers of "permanence" ail take on an
ironic context when seen in a state of decomposition. They become
poignant reminders of our own impermanence, resonating through our time
as they mark their own. The sculptural use of clay is my avenue for the
artistic exploration of "permanent" architecture, and in an unfired state
it speaks even more clearly of entropy. I intend to continue working in
unfired clay as a main medium, mixing in other mediums where necessary,
such as found objects. Conceptual and installation work are by no means
excluded and may evolve as short-term goals, but the main body of work
will be gallery oriented pieces.
Entropy was initially brought to my attention through working in
unfired clay, creating pieces left outside to deteriorate. The Second
Law of Thermodynamics defines entropy as a "measure of disorder," the
concept that any order will devolve towards a state of disorder. An
"increase of entropy often leads to a state of equilibrium," the balance
at the end of a cycle where formation / deterioration meet. Robert
Smithson (1938-1973) was an American "Earth Art" sculptor who was
aware of this delicate balance and the interconnection of all things. Of
entropy he stated "'s a condition that's irreversible, it's a condition
that's moving towards a gradual equilibrium and is suggested in many
ways.Ancient and modern architectural and object "ruins" are capable
of powerful statements about the entropy to which we are subject. As
the thirteenth century philosopher Ibn Khaldun noted:
The world of the elements and all it contains comes into being and
decays. Minerals, plants, all the animals including man, and the
other created things come into being and decay, as one can see with
one's own eyes. The same applies to the conditions that affect
created things, and especially the conditions that affect man.
Sciences grow up and then are wiped out. The same applies to
crafts, and similar things.
Everything fades, breaks down, only to be reformed, the same elements
in a new structure. In studying ancient cultures, one follows their rise
and fall, and soon our own instability becomes poignant. Knowing we
are subject to this great grinding stone, we are frantic to leave some
trace of our existence in works of art, buildings, memorials or other
Unfired, stabilized clay has a long history in building, and research
especially of its sculptural use from ancient to modern time is proposed
for a first year paper. Unfired clay has recently been recognized as a
valid sculptural medium, as seen in the works of George Geyer, Tom
McMillin, Katherine Ross, Howard Shapiro and John Goodheart.
Theoretical aspects of the recent recognition of this medium could be
dealt with in a second year paper. Research in these areas would not
only lend me technical insights into methods of stabilization of an unfired
state, but also heighten my awareness of its history in specific cultures
and its artistic capabilities as a material.

Item Type: Thesis - Coursework Master
Authors/Creators:Hughes, Marie Sierra
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1985 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Art copy includes slides. Thesis (M.F.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1986. Inlcudes bibliographical references

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