Archive StudioArchive Project: Studio View

MFA: Ideas and Questions

I spent my first year of a Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Windsor exploring ideas related to the translation of literary texts into the visual. I aim to transform the "plaisir" and "jouissance" of the text as described by Roland Barthes into an installation incorporating painting, sculpture, printmaking and handmade books. It may be entirely particular to my perceptions and fail in any attempt to be comprehensible or I may be able to link the body to language and subjectivity through the reading of literature and the visual in an understandable way.

This work relates to my earlier preoccupation with ideas of how we see ourselves as connected (or not) to the natural world through a concern with the construction of a sense of self - both through the body and through concepts and language. These questions and ideas are present in the writing of  Julia Kristeva who eloquently links the body to language and subjectivity. I find resonance in her question, "Is sensation a form of language?" 

I have begun this exploration with The Waves by Virginia Woolf, through the layered and overlapping interior dialogue of her six primary characters. The body is seen as an unstable entity and the self is constructed or fragmented in relation to the body and also by and through language. My initial reading of The Waves provoked me to begin researching these questions of subjectivity and the relationship between language and the visual art.  The entanglement of self, language, the body, the creation of story and the "plaisir” and "jouissance” of reading are points from which my thesis research will proceed.

Selected images from thesis development and visual research year one.

The Archive Project Assignment:

Archive Wall Pictures

A view of one wall of my archive research project, Force Fields and Entanglements, which involved first collecting material (photographs, readings, films, novels, articles, podcast, artists, etc) without preconceptions of outcome and then organizing this collection into interrelated categories that were personally relevant. In my case: The World of Pulses, Chronoschisms, Painting Beside Itself, An Amorous Light, Where bodies are their own signs, I OBJECT, Edge/Centre, For or at the Instant and Spectacle. I borrowed the section titles mostly from authors and philosophers -  from Virginia Wolfe ("An Amorous Light") to J.M. Coetzee ("Where bodies are their own signs") to Helen Cixous ("world of pulses").

End of Semester One: Some Little Language


Studio Installation View One: Paintings from a process-based interpretation of Virginia Wolfe's The Waves, in which I first drew "at the instant" charcoal drawings of passages from the book on mylar pages which I layered on a light table to create compositions of black and white. I used  photographs of these as the basis for the series of paintings shown, each associated with a particular passage from the book.

The Waves

Studio Installation View Two: Explorations using vacuum-formed books, mixed media pieces using polyester litho prints on gampe and the installation of a washstand that I developed further during the second semester.

The Waves 2

Studio View Three: Detail. What She Remembered and What She Left" (2012. Polyester litho on gampe and acrylic paint on board. 24" x 24" each)

End of Year One: Instrumentation


Installation View in SoVA Gallery, University of Windsor: Skin, Washstand and I Was There.

Skin Installation View

Skin (2013. Oil paint, canvas, stretcher frame, vinyl tubing, plastic water bottles, thread and duct tape. 72" x 108").


Washstand (Found objects, basin, charcoal-stained towel, soap, balled handkerchiefs and cast bronze handkerchief).

Instrumentation installation view 2

Installation View Two showing the paintings Weight, Violet (since reworked extensively) and Viscous Body. 

Viscous Body

Viscous Body (2013, Oil paint, canvas, thread, National Geographic magazines, duct tape, plastic water bottles, duct tape, vinyl tubing, plastic wrap. Canvas 40" x 30".


Weight (2013, Oil paint, canvas, duct tape, stretcher frame, embroidery thread, vinyl tubing, plastic water bottle. Canvas and board size 40" x 30").


King's Blue (2013. Oil paint, embroidery thread, vinyl tubing, plastic water bottle, insulation foam, spray paint. 40" x 30").

molanari and me

Mondrian and Me (2013. Oil paint, plastic funnel, drop cloth, thread, wall hanger, vinyl tubing, stretched canvas. 70" x 30").

Molanari and me - detail

Mondrian and Me (Detail).