About the Artist
Dayna Thacker spent much of her youth in Tennessee, and received a BFA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She moved to Atlanta in 2006. Working in collage, assemblage and installation, she uses found materials to investigate the systems we create for ourselves in order to make sense of the world and our place in it; and the connections between the physical and psychological aspects of our lives, and how they effect and shape one another. Thacker was awarded a studio space at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center for 2008-2011; she is a finalist for the Forward Arts Foundation 2010 Emerging Artist Award; and her work was featured in the 2009 Southern issue of New American Paintings. She currently has a solo exhibition at the Barbara Archer Gallery.
My interest lies in the systems that humans create for themselves in order to make sense of the world and our place in it. Philosophy and the various religions of the world are some of the systems that I find most fascinating, but there are many others. Science, geometry, mathematics, poetry, literature, mythology, fairy tales, music; all are the result of humans trying to puzzle out the mystery of existence, and they all describe a different part of the same story – and though the methods differ, they often reach strikingly similar conclusions. Many of these systems are complex and far-reaching, created by deep thinkers, but many are also of our own personal design, created to explain, organize or cope with situations in our individual lives.
Another aspect of my work is the difference between the conclusions we reach with the logical, reasoning, conscious part of ourselves, and the ones that appear suddenly from our intuitive subconscious. We accommodate an incredible amount of informational input these days, and very little of it is from the natural world with which we evolved. Most of it is information we ourselves have created, formulated and compounded, and the resulting blizzard of swirling facts and useless trivia is mind-boggling. Yet, although culturally we give ourselves very little time to be quiet and still, to mentally digest, our subconscious manages to take it all in and occasionally give back a flash of insight.
This process is reflected in my choice of media. Collage, assemblage and installation all utilize existing objects that are collected, taken out of context, and then reconfigured into new relationships. The collecting and sorting of those objects are methodical activities of accumulating information, whereas the recognition of meaning between two disparate objects is an intuitive occurrence.
Ego as Architecture
The Ego as Architecture series is my most recent work. This series was inspired and influenced by several sources, the first being the ancient forms of Buddhist mandalas which use simplified floor plans as metaphors for the structure of the human soul. It made me wonder: in what kind of architectural structure does the modern soul reside? If our bodies are what we eat, maybe our psychological self, or ego, is what we think. If so, what would that look like? I think there would be dark, disturbing rooms in the basement, and stairs that lead no where, and rickety support structures that could fall at any moment, and odd rooms added to the original house in order to accommodate new ventures. The 'building materials' are gathered from the never-ending stream of input we encounter daily, both good and bad.
Another influence came from looking at a lot 14th & 15th-century religious artwork during a trip to France. In much of the artwork from that time period the perspective of the background landscape and architecture is not quite correct – sometimes it's subtly off and sometimes it's obviously impossible. At the time, the science of perspective was being perfected, and the artwork reflects various stages of that process along with the artistic practice of sizing objects and characters according to their spiritual or thematic importance. What I like about this is the way the treatment of space reinforces the allegorical nature of the subject matter. I have used that in the Ego series by playing with perspective – never allowing it to be quite correct – in order to emphasize the spiritual/psychological nature of the structures. They exist a step or two outside of our physical reality.
On a related note, I'm enjoying the process of using two-dimensional materials to 'build' the illusion of three-dimensional architecture.