Date of Award

Winter 12-15-2022

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)




Susan Smith

Second Committee Member

Sandra Caron

Third Committee Member

Sheridan Kelley-Adams


The following thesis explores trauma’s physical and psychological aspects concerning identity as an artistic practice. Through exploring materials, subject matter, and media, my approach to trauma is based on personal and socially engaged experiences and my attempt to re-conceptualize that experience through the language of contemporary art. Extensively this work is governed by childhood memories and the critical aspect of being raised as a female in a patriarchal society. Being raised female comes with a certain number of expectations and requirements. This work creates a physical and spiritual connection between trauma and the identity of what is female. Discussing these topics with my audience creates an opportunity for understanding the cognitive approaches to the psychology of the human experience through art.

Inspired by “women’s work” and the history of arts and crafts, I include a section on feminist artists and how connections to their work have inspired and influenced my practice. Being influenced and inspired by other artists is essential to growing personal work; art grows from other work. These influences have transformed the directory of my work from trauma-related static sculpture to the healing aspect of the body in performative poetry. I am mark-making in the psyche with my performances. This transcendence of creating work was a way for me to understand myself and my own identity that was not associated with the trauma that I had experienced. Art was a way for me to release and work through the experiences that I have gone through in a safe, supportive manner.

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