Thesis: Katherine Miller

A rare December installment of All These Theses!

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Katherine Miller sent us images of her December BFA exhibition. She’s a Studio Art major (Printmaking emphasis) graduating from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO. Here is a brief statement…

Because of the deep importance of spirituality in my worldview, I often feel an inadequacy to verbally communicate its nuance and personal significance. Acting as a facilitator, printmaking is a personal creative means of entering into the subject of spirituality. The material relics and process rituals of printmaking can serve as metaphors for spiritual experiences ranging from the ordinary to the exceptional. The work in press thy hands highlights these relics and rituals, which converge in an installed sacred space that viewers are invited to experience. Unique context of the viewers’ personal histories and spiritual experiences allows for varied individual experiences of the collective-based work.

In its most basic form, spirituality can be experienced as meaning that transcends the physical; this may or may not be manifested in religious or cultural doctrine. Similar to many practices that flow from spiritual experience, printmaking relies on basic elements and repeated processes to serve as symbols and reminders. In my work, material elements used in printmaking, such as copper and ink, are highlighted as relics, while the prints themselves provide evidence of the ritualistic printmaking process. I utilize these materials, principles, and processes to reference objects and features common in spiritual spaces, such as a holy book, reliquaries, and an architecturally symmetrical interior. The result is a series of trace-based works steeped in material and methodological metaphors.

Because the work pulls from commonalities between spiritual and religious practices, elements within the created space may recall viewers’ own experiences, making each viewer’s insight into the work unique. Moments within the space may resonate with the viewer on a variety of levels, resulting in a sense of familiarity or affinity with the work, despite the viewer’s lack of acquaintance with the specific pieces. By using the entire space to guide the viewer’s thoughts inward, a personal experience of spirituality is brought into focus, for the first or the hundredth time.

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