The Ageing of Little Red
Mohring, Bronwyn G.
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Citation:Mohring, B.G. (2022). The Ageing of Little Red (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts). Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand https://doi.org/10.34074/thes.6075
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/6075
The enduring significance of toys is acknowledged through an examination of the history and cultural commonality of toys, from ancient clay toys to the many and enduring uses of toys up to present times. The concepts of Donald Winnicott and Lois Rostow Kuznet link toys to the sub-conscious and the liminal and these links are important to the development of this body of work. The sculptures of contemporary artists Christina Bothwell and Undine Brod are considered with regard to their exploration of toys in their sculptural work, and these artists were influential in the project’s development. The red hooded dress and red shoes paved the way into the realm of fairy tale. Drawing on the research of Kate Bernheimer, Michelle Aldridge, Maria Tatar, Marina Warner and Francesci Vas de Silva, the project focused on fairy tales as expressions of the subconscious through their ‘fever dream’ type narrative. Jack Zipe’s theories are essential to an understanding of where this project sits within the modern context of fairy tale art. Contemporary artists Kiki Smith and Christina Bothwell, and their Red Riding Hood influenced sculptures, are compared, concerning the relevance of fairy tale in contemporary art practices. When exploring the realm of fairy tale an essential character emerged, that of the ‘Big Bad/Evil Old’. Consideration of this character developed into an examination of the monstrous and the fearful. Marina Warner and Maria Tatar link the Big Bad of fairy tales with both ancient and modern human expressions of fear and anxiety. This paved the way for the exploration of Big Bad/Evil Old as symbol of mortality, the most ancient of Evil Olds. Fairy tales have the ability to present societal norms in a manner which challenge societal preconceptions. The depiction of equines in fairy tales reveal humanity’s contradictory and nonsensical attitude toward them. The shod horse, in both fairy tale and history, paved the way for a consideration of the significance of shoes, especially those coloured red and those created in glass. Decision processes behind the use of saggar firing and the links to ‘sympathetic magic’ are examined, drawing upon Susan Stewart, James George Frazer and Richard Andree for both a contemporary and historical perspective. Smoked ceramic works and glass art are compared and contrasted in theme and technique with regard to the artist’s own works. The Aging of Little Red exhibits toy-like objects within a fairy tale narrative which provide the means for the artist to subconsciously and intuitively explore personal realities. These impart insight into inter-species, societal and historical norms. This project begins with a photo and utilizes toy and fairy tale type narrative to concretize expressions of the unconscious fever dream and a consideration of mortality.
Keywords:Little Red Riding Hood (Tale), fairy tales, toys, toy horses, horses in art, aging in art, ceramics, exhibitions, Otago (N.Z.), New Zealand
ANZSRC Field of Research:360602 Fine arts
Degree:Master of Fine Arts, Otago Polytechnic
Supervisors:Alexandra, Kennedy; Rob, Cloughley
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