"Where Do I End, And You Begin?"
Solo Exhibition, Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture
Bozeman, MT, July 9th - Aug 6th 2021
“Where do I end, and you begin?” As a mother and an artist, I ask this question through my work; searching for the beginnings and endings of selfhood as I navigate the relationship I have with myself, my children, my family, and society within a maternal context.
Motherhood is rife with blurred boundaries. When the question of selfhood is broached through a maternal lens the parameters of individuality are obscured. The physical sharing of a body and the psychologically taxing marathon that is raising children trigger new negotiations of identity. As is frequently the case with biological milestones common to the human experience such as birth, and death, the nuances of motherhood often fall victim to mundanity. My current work seeks to make room for a more empathetic view of the otherwise “mundane” moments of maternity that have not been shown such grace through the millenia. The physical relationship between mother and child, such as pregnancy and nursing are tropes that lend themselves to this process. My work leverages these themes to explore some of the more nebulous psychological aspects that equally affect motherhood, but being not visible, are not as easy to gain an understanding of. The goal being to demonstrate the complexity and nuance of motherhood that is lost in the generic archetype of “Mother” being only a creature dedicated to comfort and self-sacrifice.
In this exhibition I have used the human figure in ceramic sculpture to connect the dynamic qualities of intimacy and complexity of motherhood to the physical realm. The boundaries within the maternal are in perpetual flux. The daily change I experience in my relationship to my own children provides a rich source of material from which to draw inspiration. I also frequently turn to the powerful experiences of other mothers that I encounter in the form of testimonials, memoirs and friendship. I have created this body of work to be viewed in conversation with one another. Works of intense euphoria are in context with works of deep grief and longing. To accurately visualize motherhood, one side cannot exist without the other. As is seen in the title piece of the show, small variations of gesture work together to demonstrate a subtly nuanced experience of the thin line between comfort, discomfort, and ritualistic repetition. The interpersonal relationships that exist within and around maternity are messy, overlapping, convoluted, and irreversible.