Dimensional Transitions

Master's Thesis


In the author’s experience, he achieves set goals by dedication and persistence. By working within parameters, he gains discipline in studio practice, consistency of sculptural forms, and evaluative criteria to assess the outcomes. The parameters are set by the materials, methodologies and explorations between tradition and innovation. He continually strives to create a new perception in the possibilities of form and the tectonics of the ceramic medium for the arts and industry. Visual references derive from both nature and products of human artifice. The author is intensely exploring the vast depth of the entirety of a three dimensional object and its occupied space. In the investigation, he has been driven to achieve excellence in the resolutions of both positive and negative spaces occupied by the object. He is also focused on articulating implied, gestural and fixed lines throughout the entirety of the space. Upon examination, these formal qualities of ceramic objects exhibit many technical questions and challenges. What are the physical limitations of clay as the chosen material? Of these limits, what alterations can be made for innovation to take place? What methods and combinations of mold construction and hand built techniques must one explore? With any chosen method of construction, is simplification or complication of form more effective to display these relationships? At what point does one decide between designs dictated by structural necessity and visual pleasure? The author is presently exploring the interrelationships and intentions between the maker and the material. Through his chosen process of invention, it is his intention to find natural form by staying true to chosen materials and their inherent properties. In his studio, the author is pursuing and establishing a formal vocabulary that allows his sculptural vessels to exhibit qualities of both unique and handcrafted objects of traditional cultures and contemporary machine made and mass-produced objects. The author is constantly intrigued by questions that arise from the final object and has begun to search for ways to assess results. What forms may allow for more or less successful interpretations? (e.g. masculine vs. feminine; organic vs. geometric) Is there, or can there be, a lowest common denominator to which all can relate? Can and how may these relationships contribute and foster new ideas and questions beyond only three-dimensional realizations?
Through his current work, and yet unrealized future projects, he wants to pursue works which exhibit a coherent synchronization of his working methodologies; from the genesis of form, through different methods of fabrication to the final evaluation. The culmination of this work should produce visually satisfying objects pleasing, in and of them selves, that also explore the conceptual issues of the object. He desires to make a notable contribution to contemporary ceramic arts by expanding a historical vocabulary of form through an innovative construction format. The author’s goal is to create works that inform and engage viewers and create conversations relating to a multitude of disciplines in an effort to seek out new answers and questions relating to one’s own time and space in contemporary society.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-04092007-161324

Author Brian Matthew Kakas
Advisor Bill Kremer
Contributor Paul Down, Committee Member
Contributor James Flanigan, Committee Member
Contributor Bill Kremer, Committee Chair
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Art, Art History and Design
Degree Name MFA
Defense Date
  • 2007-04-03

Submission Date 2007-04-09
  • United States of America

  • ceramic

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units


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