Health Gods

Thesis (M.F.A.) California State University, Los Angeles, 2012

Taoist philosophy is the foundation of my artistic process. Tao or `the way' is a holistic path striving toward harmony that includes the health of the body as well as having a healthy way of thinking and acting. For my thesis show I created large figures based on traditional Chinese health gods, allowing for the wet clay to guide some of my formal choices. This embracing of the nature of clay and the meditative practice of coil-building, enabled me to flow with the natural energy of the universe called wei wuwei. I have chosen to explore the individualistic expressiveness of the figures, incorporating inspiration from different cultures and ethnicities. When these figures are then added to an ever increasing group, their individuality fades to reveal a new dynamic, one that is closer to the universal - the way, or flow that is Tao. It is through this continuous transformation of each figure and the grouping that I search for the ultimate universal, knowing that the perfect understanding may never be achieved. "All things have each their own different principle, whereas Tao brings the principles of all things into single agreement." (Yu-lan 177) In addition to my own work, I will include a definition of Taoist principles and three artists that relate in some part to my thesis work.

Committee members: Luis Bermudez, Elizabeth Bryant, Tim Ebner, Abbas Daneshvari