Amanda Ruben

Amanda Ruben
BFA Sculpture/Minor in Management

Fear as Armor
Metal, wood, pleather, spray paint
19" x 14" x 13"; 32" x 16" x 14"

Constructed out of wood and steel, my sculptures deal with the concept of armor as both personal defense and personal vulnerability both physical and psychological. I find it ironic that given enough time, the armor we create can just as easily become nothing more than a burden. I aim to explore this irony with this series. Insects, beetles, and spiders are a common source of fear for most people as well as an inexplicably prominent fear of mine. I chose to create wearable sculptures that incorporate elements from man-made armor and the natural armor of beetles and other insects. In this way the armor is also closely tied to fear. Fear is the emotion I most closely associate with the idea of protecting. It is out of fear that an individual strives to keep themselves safe. The armor awkwardly protects an individual while embodying a source of potential danger.

As for why I use the materials I do, steel already has a strong connection to classic body armor and so I use it for that connection here. Wood is softer, and so a much more flawed material to use for body armor, which fits in with my theme of armor as a vulnerability. Carving wood also allows for the more streamlined and organic shapes of beetle horns or pincers to be incorporated into the pieces. They are designed to look clunky and burdensome. Both the colors and the iridescent surface treatment were taken from my research on various beetles, which come in a vast range of colors and combinations. The scratches and wear on the surface add to the narrative of the armor performing its function of protection.

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Amanda Ruben