Alanna Risse MFA LRVS Thesis 2015
Chasing the Whale
“The best way out is always through.” -Robert Frost
Drawn to the romantic adventure novels of Melville, Verne and Poe, I began to fixate on the idea of the whale as an embodiment of fear. It is impossible to kill the mythic white whale; what it symbolizes is ubiquitous and immortal.
In my thesis exhibition, Chasing the Whale, I explore fear as a potential catalyst for transformation. Only by passing through fear can one attain their own agency over fear. For Chasing the Whale I have created a 25 foot whale using hardware store materials such as PVC pipe and canvas drop cloth. This installation offers its viewers an experience of confronting the whale, through soft sculpture harpoons, by entering into the whale, or by exiting through the whale. In creating the whale, I exorcise my fears by making them corporeal as a means to create a confrontation and passage through these fears. I invite my viewers to interpret the whale as their own fears and join me in transforming fear into agency.
Low Residency MFA in Visual Studies (LRVS)