I have initiated a collection of new works enabled by the constraints and commitment of motherhood. More specifically, I am exploring the practice of homeschooling as a lens for this work. To more authentically experience and create these works I have undertaken a six month study into my own own “homeschooling” with my seven-year-old son. Using our domestic quarters as a backdrop, and my son as a instigator and collaborator, I’ve created an ongoing body of work that examines family constructs, the maternal-child relationship, and the ways that an artist can consider parenthood as a locus for creativity rather than a distraction or an obstacle in the career path.
Watch a video clip here. (Video coming soon)
Body Configurations is a series of photographs inspired by Valie Export, and made in collaboration with my son. Export’s description of her work as a “response” to her environment is compelling (particularly as she is outside in open spaces in most photographs), and I map that examination of space onto the practice of working inside the home. While our domestic space feels safe and comforting at times, it also can be confining and cramped, like we literally want to climb the walls, as depicted in our photographs.
On a daily basis, I monitor and record the volume and frequency of shouting in my home by making simple, playful sculptures that visualize each family member’s “shouting contribution.” Big Balls is created by assigning each of our four family members a color. Each day, I methodically and almost meditatively roll a Play-Doh ball for each family member’s shouting event. Louder and longer shouts result in a larger balls while sassing or minor sibling squabbles are represented by smaller balls. (Some days it feels like a shouting match to see who has the biggest balls.) A daily photograph of the cumulative daily balls captures a time lapse of domestic shouting.
I collaborate with my son on a series of exquisite corpse-inspired drawings. In this work we each agree on a topic and draw on a shared piece of paper, hiding our half of the drawing from the other person until we meet in the middle and connect our lines together. A few of the topics selected by my son include: Something Burning in the Atmosphere, Submarines Under Water, and Pipes Underground. Since we never discuss who will be making which part of a drawing (i.e. top or bottom), we discover serendipitous moments where our lines accidentally align, or we create curious abstractions when the drawing fails to align at all.
In Xtreme Mothering!, a GoPro HD video is created by strapping a camera to my head as I perform domestic acts, such as preparing the family breakfast, navigating the perils of toilet training, facing the dilemmas of child discipline, administering medication, loading the dishwasher, and encountering the rare quiet moment of motherhood. Modeled after extreme sports GoPro videos, my videos parody the showy masculinity observed in the plethora of skydiving, base jumping, and motocross videos that typify this genre. (Sound track appropriated from the GoPro website sample video.)
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