“Going to FIT took me deep into the woods. I’d wake up early to see the sunrise before catching the train. I started dragging in logs to play with in sculpture class. My professor, Suikang Zhao, never questioned it.” -BFA Fine Arts graduate Carly Fitzsimons from Commack, Long Island.
Carly Fitzsimons’ senior thesis “Ephemeral,” was constructed to be a meditative environment of logs and marble. As artist, she acted as “the shaman who turns ordinary life into a ritual process,” as stated by mythologist Joseph Campbell. Shamans, or “the first artists,” transform reality, in the sense that “daily life becomes a mystical ritual,” according to Fine Arts Professor Suikang Zhao. “Carly’s installation has that kind of humanity in it,” says Zhao.
“Carly’s generation thinks differently,” says Prof. Zhao. “They aren’t limited to one location. Their ideas jump around. It’s a fragmentation. They’re piecing things together. It’s not about country or urban; it’s about transforming their environment. They can walk down the street and think about nature. It’s not about the immediate reality.”
Of her technique Carly says, “It’s about revealing the continuity of energy. I chose to burn the wood to alter the color and to carve the wood to alter the form. I didn’t use any glue or paint. Everything is balanced by gravity.”
She “bypasses the present,” says Prof. Zhao. “It’s not just about ‘I love nature,’ but transforming the local immediacy to a bigger concept of where are we going.”
The installation will eventually go outdoors where it will eventually decompose.
For now “It reflects what I see when I look at a log. It’s a home of a bug, the foundation for a new flower. It’s not merely a dead log,” says Carly “In a culture that’s so throw-away, we forget that nothing disappears.”
“I see her work as going back to a very long past, to things that look like Stonehenge and prehistoric art. Those artists worked to personify an object,” says Prof. Zhao.
“A ceremonial forest,” says Carly.