Publication Date

Spring 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Carrie Ohm, M.F.A.

Second Advisor

Michael Hart, M.F.A.

Third Advisor

Arthur Bourgeois, Ph.D.


The human face is the most universally important focus of communication. It is a significant source of identity and the most expressive means of nonverbal communication. We use our faces to speak and express emotions. We use faces to recognize friends or foes; to spot family resemblances; and to consider attractiveness or unattractiveness. Gleaned from a number dictionaries, my interpretation of what is meant by taking something or someone at "face value" means to accept that idea, object, or person because of the way it first looks or seems, without thinking about what else it could mean, and to accept that the idea, object, or person is exactly what it appears to be.

In the first phase of my sculptural ceramic work I use the human face in caricature to playfully parody both the contradictions between literal and ambiguous interpretations of terms in the English language, and how we function in society surrounded by human stereotypes and the language generated by those stereotypes. I feel that the use of humor invites the viewer to participate actively in experiencing the art.

By using the term "face value" the humorous use of a word, or combinations of words can have different meanings and possible applications as a play on words or pun.

The second phase of my sculptural work involved the process of incorporating the image of the human face cast from real life. I realized I needed to challenge myself technically and take my art from a "childlike caricature" level of innocence to a more "adult" level of life experiences. I did not want to give up that sense of playfulness, so I kept with the human stereotypes and "play on words" or pun theme. However during this period of creativity a personal event happened in my life and the sense of playfulness and parody became bittersweet. The third phase of my work portrays "implied" faces that exaggerates a fear I had as a child and still haunts my subconscious to this day. (Abstract by OPUS staff)