Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
Professor Tobias Flores
Artist Wendy (Suat Huay) Tan
We all see the world in different ways and we all see it from a human scale. Observing small creatures in nature has always fascinated me. There is a small world that exists just below our feet which is full of beauty and excitement. These seemingly insignificant little creatures such as ants can represent a microcosm of human existence.
Ants live with us on every continent and their existence may seem valueless but in fact their lives have enormous ecological importance. One in every thousand insects is an ant. Their total population is estimated at one quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000). They have lived on earth for more than 100 million years. They are tiny but mighty since they are untied.
Teamwork is what has kept the ant colonies successful over these many years. This united effort can also describe the foundry process that was used to create this work. The casting of metal allows the artist the ability to create even the most complex forms such as those found in nature but it comes at a cost. The work is tireless, dirty, and cannot be done alone. Like the ant colony the foundry artist must depend on others to get the work done. The ants and the foundry workers have specific roles and must be efficiently organized. The cast metal (bronze, iron, and aluminum) in a way is like the exoskeleton of the ant allowing it to take shape and this enormous scale.
My hope is that the relatively giant ants in this environment (the gallery) can change our perspective, our mood, and the way we perceive the relationship between ourselves and the space around us, even for just a moment. The transformation of industrial materials such as iron, bronze, aluminum and steel has enabled me to bring this small world to life at a scale that cannot be overlooked.
Tan, Wendy (Suat Huay), "MFA Thesis Exhibition - Enormous" (2022). Master's Theses. 3198.
© 2022 Wendy (Suat Huay) Tan