Thesis Exhibition

While cleaning, I stumbled across a container of clay I had collected from my grandparent’s property as a child. It was unnerving to realize that, while I knew where the clay had come from, I had no actual memory of collecting it. As my loved one’s age, I am confronted by the unsettling fact of both their, and my, memory loss.
    I believe that the lens through which we explore loss becomes an important tool in the articulation of narrative. My experience growing up on grandparent’s property on the edge of the Allegheny wilderness played an important role in shaping who I am today, fostering a personally important connection to landscape. I am attempting to find meaning in my loss of place through the exploration of my relationship to place and the interweaving degradation of place and memory.
    I collected clay and glaze material from their property.  This raw material is processed into a clay body, a colorant, and a glaze and formed into objects with specific uses made to act as a trigger for a memory linked to the object. Material, intended use, form, and imagery coalesce to act as a trigger a memory of a precise instant in time.
Things that we integrate into our everyday lives become a synergist for memory triggered by use of the object. By creating an object that holds a specific purpose, is created with material from a specific location and contains imagery of that place, I create an object that acts as a memory catalyst and, while not celebrating loss, finds beauty and meaning in loss. Ultimately, I am finding agency in the preservation of my memory and the re-articulation of my narrative.

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Rachel Clark


Transitional structures These brick-like structures are in the process transitioning from human habitation to plant habitation. They are the most suitable habitat for roadside flora of North Western Pennsylvania and can typically be found residing along back roads. They may be difficult to identify at first as wild flora has since taken up residents in these abandoned structures, sometimes hiding the structure completely, as the plants adapt to this new environment.