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Art Studio Senior Experience:

This studio capstone course is designed for the student completing the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art. Students synthesize content from coursework from throughout their academic career by articulating their aesthetic style, and its links to conceptual and philosophical frameworks of the past and present. Students refine that research into a concise thesis statement about the intention and methodology of producing their body of artwork, developed specifically for presentation in a thesis exhibition, which they organize and install.

Tangled Hierarchy

Whitney Santamaria

Tangled Hierarchy is a collection of fabricated objects that reflect a deconstruction of the self. The use of individual narrative components, the interaction of the mixed media and metal items collaboratively contribute to the deeper purpose of self-exploration. As a metalsmith and object maker I often contemplate the implications of material expressions. Interaction with these items reveal histories of the objects, chronicle the life of the collector and at the same time forge new narratives.

I have utilized an aesthetic, through a process of synthetic aging, that emphasizes the ephemeral nature of time and memory. “I” is a narrative fiction created from the interaction with symbols interpreted by a nervous system. As human beings the objects we make, collect, trade or otherwise interact with can act as proxy for us, inform us, or in some cases even become their own entities. Tangled Hierarchy is an abstract outward expression of fabricated stories that addresses self-reference, paradox, semiotics, Alfred Gell’s Distributed Personhood and Douglas Hofstadter’s Tangled Hierarchy Consciousness theory. Within the assemblage there are even smaller constellations, stories within the boxes, and hidden surprises to be found in the exploration of each unit. Even the trunks in which these objects are displayed act as a metaphor for the body as portable containers. As with people this work is full of character, it is involved and multifaceted.

To learn about a person we must communicate with them, be observant and ask questions. This body of work requires the same interaction. Collectively, each object in this assemblage represents a part of a whole that has added up to the sum of me. This work being deeply personal is at the same time deliberately divorced from the hand of the creator. Tangled Hierarchy is the process of abstracted self-exploration and an observation of how the self interacts with its surroundings.

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