For my MFA Thesis Show, I’ll be exploring artistic ways to visually communicate the four men who have been fathers to me during my life.
The rules for the art I’ll be creating
• Each artwork will incorporate one photograph of each of the four fathers. The photographic image may be recognizable or not (altered, cropped, fragmented, distorted, manipulated, etc.), but it will be there in some form or fashion.
• I may limit myself to the number of photos of each man that I use to four or five in total. This is the most flexible of my rules.
• Each piece will integrate found photos, original photo imagery (that I will develop or that I have created during my MFA program explorations), intense color, and meaningful shapes.
• Rather than dealing with the depressing emotions of pain, suffering, and death (which is where my head is these days because of my father-in-law’s poor health and dementia), I’m choosing to focus on the overarching emotions of celebration, positivity, and form, while treating real life, uncertainty, and searching as the subplots and counter weights.
Four views of the first mockup of a work
The following mockup of a printed sculptural work will be constructed of four interlocking sheets of Dibond metal, printed on both sides and CNC cut to shape. I’m envisioning it being self-standing, approximately 6 to 8 feet tall from floor to tip.
The imagery juxtaposes found photos with images that were created when photographs shot with my camera did not write properly to the digital memory card, creating “glitch” reads to the computer. The resulting images can best be described as “partial clarity”, “confusion” or even “chaos”—perhaps a metaphor. Things are not always as clear cut as they appear.
The shapes are derived from the center of the letter O in two distinctive typefaces. The significance being that the first name of all four men has a common letter in them: O.
Introducing my Four Fathers
• Don Largent is my biological father. He was active in my life from my birth in 1953 until he died from a failed aorta replacement surgery in 1964.
• My mother remarried a couple of years later and Floyd “Bubba” Key became my step-father in 1966. In 1982, Bubba died in a freak car accident.
• In 1975, I married my college sweetheart and her father, Dr. Orman Norwood, became my father-in-law. I call my father-in-law “Dad” because we have lived close to each other and have regular interaction.
• My mother re-married in 1983 and Don Green, technically, became my step-father. However, I generally refer to him as “my mother’s husband” since I was a married adult with my own son when they married, so I found it difficult to refer to him as “Dad”. Regular interaction with him is sparse partially because we have lived in either Tennessee or Georgia all these decades and they live in Michigan.
The photo shown here is a stand-in for Don Green. I will not have any photos of him that I will want to use until I take a trip to Michigan in the near future.