Humble alchemy




White, Shalena Bethany

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This master's report addresses the conceptual and material investigations that were explored within my artistic research made at the University of Texas at Austin between 2011 and 2014. These works are a confluence of adornment, sculpture and installation art. These pieces incorporate ancient and contemporary metalworking techniques with raw, organic material. The notion of elegant ornamentation is expanded beyond the body into the adornment of architecture. The potential for transformation and reinvention within found elements is explored within this work. The natural resources I work with have gone through a cycle, which is interrupted when the objects are removed from the earth. I see my process in relationship to alchemical concepts of transmutation. Through manipulation, common matter evolves into precious material. The refined, meticulous craftsmanship conveys a sense of reverence and honor towards the common material. This intervention with the material is an act of preservation and veneration. This work explores my sense of intrigue about the extraordinary potential of mundane materials, and investigates conventional notions of material value.




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