art mama

 

What might happen in the studio if in the first years of starting a family I decided to forgo any commitment to a technique, style or media and instead devoted myself to making a series of works that explored as freely and honestly as I could the complexities of new life, child development, and the first six years of being a mother? Over five years I had three children. I worked in the studio throughout, forging a chronicle of this fleeting and intense period of life.

I was inspired in part by the subject itself, and in part by the dearth of art being made at that time about this aspect of the human experience. Today there is much more artwork and scholarship on this perennial subject. In the 1990s, the silence around the subject confirmed my commitment to exploring mothering with the most clarity and invention I could bring to it.

In 1999 ten works from this project were exhibited at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in a two person exhibition with artist Amy Toscani. At that time my children were five years, three years and nine weeks old. Within a year, I closed the project. As my eldest began kindergarten, the era of babies, toddlers and preschoolers began to naturally shift into a new phase of family life. The culmination of the project came through gift-giving. I gave an artwork from the series to each of the people who had helped me make it through this time as an integrated mother and artist.