Research Spotlight: The nature of art

For sculptor Vanessa Paschakarnis, space and form serve as a means to an end: They encourage viewers to “re-evaluate their existence as physical beings.” Her works, she says, allude to the “essence of an encounter – an encounter with form as a thing – and the thing as equal companion.” Her designs borrow from simple forms in nature; working in stone and bronze, the assistant professor of art in Meadows School of the Arts creates pieces on a scale of the human body. A shark’s tooth enlarged takes on centurion-like proportions. A sand dollar lends its shape to a human shield. Her sculptures, Paschakarnis says, “are beings in and of themselves, autonomous objects that occupy space – in the room and in the viewer’s head.” Read more in the current issue of SMU Research magazine, and view more of Paschakarnis’ work at her Web site.