Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Studio Arts

Degree Program

Studio Art and Design, MFA

Committee Chair

Carothers, Mary

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Calvert, Tiffany

Committee Member

Calvert, Tiffany

Committee Member

Rhodes, Che

Committee Member

Ritz, John

Author's Keywords

deconstruction; gender; interpellation; social construct; semiotics


(un) bound: disrupting notions is a selection of art work that explores gender identity through the act of interpellation and the semiotics of clothing. The project aims to clearly define how concepts of “gender” and “sex” function in our language and, in turn, how the binary terms of these concepts (man/woman; male/female) enforce our genders rather than express them. Clothing is a particularly productive form for this investigation because clothing is often the way we express our gender, and yet it is also often produced for us along strict, socially-prescribed gender lines. Typically, conversations around gender are very black and white—they follow this strict social prescription—and turn on the definition of sex. I use bi-sexed garments to inform my viewer and open communication about the forgotten individuals that do not fall into a socially constructed norm. In this thesis and in my work, I educate people on gender, sex, social constructs, the performativity of gender, and the correct way that we should understand ourselves: that gender exists on a spectrum. In order for a stronger universal vernacular, we must first deconstruct the language that is formed by interpellation done through the theory of semiotics. By releasing the garments in my work from their functional state I restart this conversation. By reconstructing the garments into new forms or ‘paintings’, I am creating new dialogues. These fabric paintings allow me to use the current binary vernacular and adjust it in a way that helps explore how gender is fluid.