Date of Degree
MFA (Master of Fine Arts)
This is not the creation of a self-contained world rooted in its own interior logic; this is the re-creation of a world through remembering, recording, and reformatting, embedded in a larger system. Ultimately this world investigates humanity's obsessive quest to study, capture, and categorize every living thing. When we get close enough to study each other, we obliterate what we are trying to understand.
The forms in my work are cartographic - maps of a place and time but in an experiential rather than a literal sense. As I trace the depictions of the natural world from 17th century botanical engravings to my mother's floral couch circa 1990, I uncover hidden desires embedded in the everyday objects around us. It is deeply rooted in suburban and familial relationships - the desire to surround the home with images of "nature", while nature remains something wild, outside us, beyond the lawns, a counterpoint to humanity. The perception of this distance from the natural world is what allows for our romance and fascination with it, therefore fueling debates over "nature" or "nurture". Rather than create sublime images that reinforce a spellbound vision of nature's dominance over man, or by contrast to create a critique of man's command over nature, I am delving into domestic, artificial, and kitsch representations with equal measures of sentimentality and criticism.
Copyright 2011 Taryn Maureen McMahon
McMahon, Taryn Maureen. "Their wondrous transformation and peculiar nourishment." master's thesis, University of Iowa, 2011.