Anne Elder

Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

MFA - Master of Fine Arts



First Advisor

Christopher James


Our relationship with the natural world is complicated and under scrutiny as we make irrevocable changes to the earth. We enter the woods to get lost, and to find ourselves. We walk there to find thrills, peace, inspiration; to hear ourselves think, to be surprised, to make profit. Our childish fears may have changed from bears, monsters and getting lost, replaced by adult fears (bears, unsavory humans, getting lost). The woods may frighten us or be a place of comfort, but it is rarely a neutral experience. When we lose access to these spaces, it affects our ability to find our place in the natural order. Loss of wild natural habitats not only impacts the health of the earth, its flora and fauna and our physical bodies; we suffer a collective spiritual loss. My work is concerned with the natural world as a place that fires our imagination, and our imagination is exactly what lies at the root of our abilities to survive, to invent and to problem solve.

Tales From The Fells is an allegorical multiplatform work with deep roots in my own childhood experience and a numinous approach to the natural world. It consists of the construction of a mythical realm populated by large-scale feral creatures and their talismanic objects, made primarily from organic and plant materials. These are then used as installation elements and components in image making, and organized utilizing a fairy tale framework to provide a particular point of access as a way of focusing on specific concerns, or to trigger connections to previously archived stories. The viewer is given an opportunity, particularly in the outdoor installations, to make further connections through the senses of touch and smell. I invite viewers to play, to engage, to feel wonder and curiosity, to let their imagination run free. Fairy tales that I have written inform the visual work. My final product seeks to distill the varied forms this has taken over the past two years while retaining the materiality and tactility I have insisted on throughout.

Anne Eder_MFA Thesis Final_2015.pdf (2827 kB)
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