Thesis Committee Chair
Jonathan Sadler, M.F.A.
Thesis Committee Members
Stephanie Bacon, M.F.A.
Lily Lee, M.F.A.
My world has no separation between art, activism, and identity. As a neurodivergent individual, I experience life through hyperactive senses. It is an intense reality; however, it is the force that drives me to create, explore, discover and learn. My sculptural installation, Influence, was based on my experience of being divergent minded. My mind works like a kaleidoscope, always awash in colorful abstract images, each twist or turn reveals a new perspective - the physical results of this process are six interweaving soft sculptures based on neurons. These sculptures were created with yarns, fibers, plastics, latex, and light. My flexible neuron sculptures confront the viewer with their intensity of color, texture, line, pattern, shape, and scale. They are my bold interpretations of what I imagine the neurons in my brain must look like. They are interwoven and entwined, interacting with one another, similar to the neurons in the brain. They hang, suspended in the air at varying heights, connected to each other by their dendrite tendrils.
While physical flexibility was crucial for the way I planned to hang and display my neuron sculptures, I also wanted their flexibility to be a metaphor of the plasticity and adaptability of the human brain. Neurons form networks that physically connect, web, and flash with light as electrical impulsestravel between them relaying information, linking our ideas and thoughts. The act of learning creates new physical connections inside of our brains. These neuron sculptures show the vibrant side of my way of approaching the world with ADHD. While their colors and lights lure you in, they can become overwhelming and make you want to step away - this is how it feels to live with ADHD: you are in a constant state of being pulled towards stimuli, while simultaneously being repelled and overwhelmed. With ADHD, the same stimuli can cause different reactions, sometimes appealing and sometimesappalling. I wanted to offer viewers this experience with my installation.
By sharing my divergent artistic perspective and backing up my narrative and artwork with scientific data and research, I hope to dispel harmful myths and foster a better understanding of the challenges that neurodivergent individuals experience. I want my art to spark productive conversations about ways we can reform our educational and societal systems to be more inclusive and open to all people. Ultimately, I would love to see my work widen the way so that anyone who follows the divergent path after me will encounter less resistance.
Matejcek, Anna E., "Influence" (2017). 2017 MFA Visual Arts. 1.