The present day atmosphere seems to be so much about one or the other. Whether it is politics, religion, or even something as small as Apple or PC, it seems like it is impossible to exist in the middle; you either "are" or "are not." With the blinders firmly strapped on, there is so much not coming into view. By only seeing things in absolutes, is what we DO NOT experience and believe as important as what we DO?
This is a cumbersome question without a simple yes or no answer. However, rather than attempting to create some kind of resolution, this thesis attempts to reframe this question (in a broader sense) in an effort to remove the blinders and experience things beyond ourselves. More specifically, it attempts to shift the focus from "I" to "We" and how inextricable these two are in defining and understanding each other.
Because there are so many facets to this issue, I narrowed my focus on one aspect - gender. I also provided context for the body of work by framing it specifically as a marriage ceremony. Each piece makes a statement on its own, but this statement is made stronger be presenting it with its companion piece. For example, the piece entitled Intimate I, a girdle made of nails and a carriage bolt, is visually powerful on its own and presents clear tension between male and female contexts and materials. However, when paired with the piece Intimate II, an athletic supporter made from straight pins, the presentation becomes more complex and less one-sided. Both gender roles are literally standing right in front of the viewer, side by side with equal importance. While the viewer expectedly draws on their personal history to interpret what they are seeing, the "other" is also right there, on display for them to experience as well.
One cannot shift the social focus centuries in the making by displaying a few pieces of art in a gallery and writing a few words. But hopefully this thesis does call on us to take pause. We stop for a moment to take in a little humanism in a post-humanist age in hopes that it opens the door a crack. Perhaps it lets enough light in to start to question what we think we know about ourselves and ultimately the whole of humanity.
Fine Arts Studio (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School for American Crafts (CIAS)
Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez
Tosto Merwarth, Maressa, "Man : Woman : Human" (2012). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus