My figurative ceramic sculptures are comprised of deconstructed, fragmented and simplified renderings of the human form. Within these sculptures I integrate materials such as human hair, fabric, wood and plaster cast body parts to mimic limbs and body mass, creating diversity in the tactile surface quality. The pastel tones, bright colors and additions of hair further obscures the realistic appearance of these beings. Clay's malleability fuels my intuitive creative process and allows me to replicate the human form in ranges from anatomical accuracy to biomorphic abstraction.

I am inspired by the relationship between interiority and exteriority, between the mind and the physical world and between the conscious and unconscious. My fascination with the human psyche began with the development of my episodic sleep paralysis at a young age. Sleep paralysis traps me in a surreal state that exists somewhere beneath consciousness and above unconsciousness, depriving me of movement and causing me to hallucinate my surroundings. This reoccurring experience, while frightening and uncomfortable, has launched my exploration into the reservoirs of the human psyche.

My surreal sculptures personify the human psyche through abstractions of the body with a focus on particular gestures that communicate emotional states. Together in a space these works exist in a dream-like setting and create an ambiguous narrative that playfully interacts with the viewers while subtly alluding to darker undertones.


Todd Shanafelt

Committee Member

Amy Toscani

Committee Member

Moses Langley

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Arts and Humanities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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