Artist Tristan ‘Dirk’ Stamm (’12) ponders the likelihood of producing perfection

Posted by & filed under Challenge.

“There is no end or purpose to existence, only ceaseless creation and destruction, governed entirely by chance.” Stephen Greenblatt, paraphrasing Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things in The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
The chance that a saguaro seedling will survive to adulthood is almost non-existent. First, the seed has to find its way into the shade of another plant, manage to survive months of dryness while only being able to store a couple of drops of water, and stay warm enough not to freeze during cold winter nights. The seedling must deal with these challenges for anywhere between 38 to 135 years. The probability that a saguaro survives to adulthood is so slim that the forests of 60 ft tall saguaros in the Sonoran Desert seem like they shouldn’t exist.

My work explores the chance of survival, the probability of existence, a struggle with unpredictability, specifically those surrounding the human body, coming to terms with control, power, and lack there of, and the likelihood of producing something complete or finished.

These themes are questioned through building a surface out of layers, pulling forms from the background, accenting particular moments, and by the use of previously conceived societal frameworks and images.

Tristan ‘Dirk’ StammMarlboro College Class of 2012


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