Anderson, Joseph Gregory
Sweet Tooth is an exploration of childhood culture as it exists in an adult world. I am interested in the power dynamics resulting from the cohabitation of youth and adults, and the manner in which adults impose their knowledge, faith, and morals upon children. Through the watercolour paintings and textile sculptures in Sweet Tooth, I investigate nostalgia, childhood playthings and children’s literature, especially cautionary tales and religious texts for children. These morality tales are a product of Victorian-era theories of youth education and child rearing. While much has changed in the past 100 years, the impact of this era can still be felt, especially in conservative religious cultures such as that which informed my own youth. The children’s stories produced during this particular time use a mixture of scare-tactics and theological themes to convey their message. In Victorian times, there was an apprehension about failing the intellectual, physical, and spiritual needs of children. This was compensated for with well-intentioned, but peculiar, attempts to frighten youngsters into strict obedience. The painting style in my exhibition, and my use of the watercolour medium, recalls the colourful imagery found in Victorian-era books for children. The textiles in my sculptural works relate to treasured childhood toys. My paintings and sculptures reference the human bodies of both children and adults and employ dramatic shifts in scale. Conceptually, the artwork challenges didactic lessons, but, nevertheless, the children in the paintings appear to crave approval from authority figures. The illustrations of bodies in Sweet Tooth defiantly reveal their imperfections and limitations, but also display a playful humour and desire for worldly delights. The conceptual themes of my art stem from sentimental and romantic views of childhood and my desire is to dissect and expose the actual struggles children endured in past generations, and continue to experience today. These themes recall the Christian teachings during my formative years and relate to adult recollections of youthful guilt and punishment.
DegreeMaster of Fine Arts (M.F.A)
DepartmentArt and Art History
ProgramArt and Art History
SupervisorShantz, Susan; Traer, Patrick
CommitteeTeucher, Ulrich; Nowlin, Tim; Norlen, Alison