This thesis examines my fears of death and dying. Through my studio art practice, which includes observational representation, ceremonial and ritualistic performance, and installation, I seek to confront my own difficulty in accepting death's emotional weight. My motivation stems from my attachment to my mother's mortality and her relationship with dying animals. In researching cultural customs relating to death, I was inspired to explore non-archival materials and ritualistic processes reflecting my understanding of our bodies' temporal nature. This includes swaddling, etching, using materials such as branches, animal bones, copper, shells, and pine needles, and encasing materials in wax. My points of interest are occurrences of death and decay. These interactions help me find acceptance and comfort during moments of uncertainty. Scale variations in my work are intentional and directly correlate my emotional response to my experiences with nature. From small, intimate works to larger, monumental ones, I explore the authority that size achieves when exaggerated and paired with images. These gestures of curiosity and compassion aim to emphasize my innate care and the ability to restore dignity surrounding the experience of loss and dying. Centered around the ubiquity of grieving and healing, my creative process and work products express the crucial value of accepting my own impermanence through emotional vulnerability. Creating this body of work helped me realize and appreciate alternative understandings and associations with death; and by exhibiting the work, I am inviting the viewer into my life and practice with the hope it creates a brief opportunity for them to reflect and reconsider their relationship with death.
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Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
School of Visual Arts and Design
Emerging Media; Studio Art and Design Track
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Fucheck, Brittney, "With Silk, Sage, and Bones: Confronting Death and Dying Through Nature and Ritualistic Healing" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1563.