John Archer


To provoke intrigue using simplified, whimsical, playful (toy-like) forms with recycled materials that convey complex, possibly dark, relationships to foster a curiosity of innocence lost and deliver a deeper meaning (Archer, 2012). To me life is an exercise in exploring the human condition; specifically relationships. From the day we arrive we establish relationships with everything in our world, even before we arrive, if we count the ten months of uterine swimming. The sights, sounds, and touch of lights, voices, and caress all play a part in our connection to the world. My thesis work focuses on the connections among interpersonal relationships, childhood, and natural cycles. My use of the term `interpersonal relationships' refers to more intimate relationships, like family and good friends, rather than referring to casual acquaintances, like the bank teller or the coffee shop barista. For me, the meaning of natural cycles is the ability to grow and/or decay. Relationships and steel share the idea of natural cycles. A relationship may grow, then through lack of attention fade away. The same holds true for steel. Without care and protection, steel will rust and decay. The art work reflects these themes and how I have made them into lasting configurations. The goal of my thesis is to explore and examine interpersonal relationships through child-like figures that express natural cycles in the human experience. Metal sculptures utilizing recycled, surplus, and "up-cycled" materials illustrating past or current associations in order to obtain a better understanding of special connections. Urban Dictionary's definition of up-cycled is; "using ordinary objects to make something extraordinary" (Up-cycle, n. d.) I produced compositions that suggest the figure, or objects, while translating personal relationships for the viewer. Once encountered, the physical manifestations create a forced visual dialogue to which the audience could respond to and possibly question. With reflection, the audience may examine themselves through the work, possibly sparking a relationship or childhood memory of their own that the art draws out in them. My challenge was to physically manifest these mostly intangible intimate relationships and childhood memories. Using figures, or compositions that suggest the body and objects, I help the viewer by interpreting and translating the relationships into forms that interacted with the audience. By constructing a physical as well as visual dialogue between viewer and form, the objective is to stir-up intrigue and to promote self-examinations of our experiences and our relationships.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Metal sculpture--Themes, motives; Metal sculpture--Technique; Interpersonal relations in art

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

School for American Crafts (CIAS)


Caballero Perez, Juan Carlos

Advisor/Committee Member

Miokovic, Alex

Advisor/Committee Member

Messina, Mitchell


Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works. Physical copy available through RIT's The Wallace Library at: NB1220 .A73 2012


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