Graduate Alumni > Advanced Fiber Studio (Highlights)

Maura Ahern (Fall 2006 and Spring 2007)
Maura Ahern (Fall 2006 and Spring 2007)

As populations grow larger and more concentrated, consumption of materials facilitates a constant demand, perpetuating a cycle of production. Demands are sometimes greater than needs, and in an environment where materials are readily available, value decreases. Objects become diminished in worth and excessive in number. The initial demand is often based on the allure of the material, but attraction alone cannot produce indulgence. Indulgence is a behavior that joins beauty and extravagance; the desire for beauty is realized in quantity. This quantity holds a power to breed addiction. As a detrimental compulsion or a loss of restraint, addiction resides beyond mere physical dependence.

There are several prescribed methods for dealing with an addiction. Most often these are medical, spiritual, behavioral, or a combination of the three. All require a personal acknowledgement of the addictive substance's power over behavior and self control. Some spiritual methods relate this acceptance to the power of a higher being. Having been raised in a Roman Catholic family, I'm beginning to find connections between religion and addiction. I grew up undergoing a constant repetition of cleansing rituals and affirming the power of both sin and God over my control. In my work, I'm exploring the parallels between these rituals and repetitions with those used in addiction treatments.

Through a process of offsetting layers, slanting expected pathways, and allowing distortions to occur within the structure of a repeated print, I attempt to break patterns I associate with addiction. My prints are decaying, once-symmetrical decorations piled atop themselves, eroding the layers beneath. I'm interested in the reactions of disparate materials and printing with substances alternative to flat color; I experiment with specialty expandable inks, metallic colors and foils, along with nonperishable food products such as molasses, cocoa, and corn syrup. This investigation considers conversations between beauty and decay, sugar and filth, vibrance and ruin, among other possibilities.