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Curving Bodies: Featuring VADA and Policy Studies Senior, Miranda Morris

Photo Credit: Xingtong Liu

By Sunny Liu     10/24/18 12:03am

For McMurtry College senior Miranda Morris, art is a way to explore the human body. Her studio is a collection of portrayals of the curves and shadows formed by shoulders, arms and torsos. In one corner, a charcoal sketch of an elbow propped against a knee. In another, a golden sculpture of a foot curved against a woman’s face.

Morris named Leonora Carrington, with her surrealist focus on women, as one of her biggest artistic inspirations.

“I like how [Carrington’s] work subverted the subject of women in art — as more of the subject rather than the object in a piece,” Morris said.

When it comes to her own creative process, Morris said she likes to focus on the forms of bodies. Her favorite mediums are charcoal and oil paint.

“With oil, I like that you can create so much depth in the translucent layers to really [form] something that is full and luminescent,” Morris said.

However, she enjoys exploring other mediums of art as well. In her Monster Studio course last year, she created a sculpture of a foot curved against a face, both of which were plastic casts of her own face and foot. According to Morris, she first got the idea from the form of a hand holding a face.

“I started thinking about how the curvature of a foot can conform to a face. It’s not something you ever see, but it’s something that physically fits,” Morris said. “You don’t see a lot of feet at the center point of traditional artwork. It’s not something seen as graceful, so I wanted to elevate it.” 

According to Morris, her experience as a visual arts student has taught her to venture out of her comfort zone and into unfamiliar spaces.

“[I believe] the creative process is going to be valuable even if I don’t know if I’ll be able to achieve the end goal, or even if I don’t have an end goal,” Morris said.

She hopes that all students take advantage of the art classes offered at Rice. Art, she believes, is more than sketches and paintings — it’s an immersive experience that can be formed from paints and charcoals and fabrics alike.

“I always hear ‘I’m not talented’ or ‘I can’t draw,’” Morris said. “I want people to expand their notion of what a good drawing or a successful piece of art looks like. I hope students can see that art is a lot more accessible.”

After finishing her Rice degrees in policy studies and visual and dramatic arts, Morris plans on attending medical school. In her career as a physician, she said she hopes to explore the crucial role of art in healing and the creation of healing spaces.

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