“I continued and continue to wonder: ‘How do I find myself at peace in this age where humans and machines are so intertwined?’ ” she says. “The stuffed animals were the perfect representation of a kind of in-between state — where material, process, and outcome contain elements that are both mechanistic and spontaneous.”
Dierks grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Dartmouth (“My family is great, but my dad was a little worried for me to major in art,” she says) before earning a post-baccalaureate in Sculpture and Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University.
When searching for a graduate program, she says the interdisciplinary focus of the MFA at Stamps appealed to her, as well as the school’s offer providing teaching opportunities, which was her ultimate goal after graduating.
Working with professors Janie Paul and Carol Jacobson, who have respective backgrounds in psychology and feminist theory, Dierks says she learned to go beyond the materials she’d been collecting and obsessing over to get at the issues driving her work.