Natalie Kuenzi, MFA 2017

Thesis Exhibition: April 5- April 8, 2017

Opening Reception : April 7, 6-8pm

hands are like flowers (We Can Be Them Too)

Spring 2016

Crocheted recycled plastic, reclaimed stoneware, acrylic, glue

25’’ x 20’’ x 9’’

Wild Flowers

Winter 2017

Recycled cardboard, recycled porcelain slip, chalk pastel, oil pastel, acrylic, glue

Crocheted recycled plastic, reclaimed stoneware, acrylic, glue

61’’ x 61’’ x 6’’

Artist Statement

To look to the clouds—to see the possibilities in shape, color, and movement. To look to the stars—to question the magnitude of space, time, and existence. To be captivated by the wonders of the sky is a joy we all share, despite the harshness of life—of the social, political, and economic inequities that divide our world. As the sky launches the imagination, I create work that dreams—open to others, reimagining beauty, and holding joy.

We perceive the world through the senses—the smell of the wind, the touch of a love, the color of night—it is these sensuous experiences that evoke emotion and feeling, that move us. Like a cloud drifts across the sky, we become immersed in our sensuous world, and it is through this movement of feeling that we are inspired to act. Like a blue break in a heavy, gray wall of clouds, when the movement of feeling and action align, an imaginative space is opened and we can begin to redefine our world.

This body of work is an embodiment of an imaginative space. A space that revels in the nuances of beauty, reinvents notions of ascribed value placed on materials, aesthetics, and people, and celebrates the role of dreaming in the creation of a better world. Through this exploration, I seek to reimagine the world around us, to bring happiness to others, and to encourage others to dream with me.

Through the recycling and reclamation of discarded materials alongside traditional “fine art” materials, my work challenges systems of ascribed value, meditating on the present moment and postulating about our future. By embodying the forms and notions of formal aesthetics and beauty well as what is seen as dirty, abject, or worthless, I create forms and notions that occupy a new space, becoming not pretty, not ugly, but something new and full of possibility. In this way, I hope to evoke notions of agency, innovation, and empowerment through imagination and dreams, reflecting on the harshness of life and the inequitable nature of society, searching for unseen potentials in perceived failure and sorrow, and imagining a more dynamic, worthwhile, joyful whole.