Starting next month, April, I am having a 3 month long exhibition that will also be my 3rd solo show. With my two previous independent exhibitions, I have been rather finicky with the artist statement. With the last show, I didn’t even produce one, and with my first, I stuck the framed, handwritten sentences in the gallery’s bathroom. Close to the toilet. This 3rd show, entitled “Mother Being” is made of work that is highly vulnerable to me. However, the statement (as with most shows) should be seen and heard (well, in your head as you’re reading.) Details of the exhibit location, dates, and reception will all be included on the show’s upcoming postcard. Until then, this is the artist statement, for Mother Being:
When I became completely immersed in using mixed media within my art through glitter, gold paint, and anything iridescent, I saw it as a means to help me create a fantasy and dreamlike world. I had once tried to make a diptych that would depict a view into what I felt when my mom became very sick. When I was in the early stages of experimenting with materials in class, I decided to glue onto one of the wooden panels a cluster of the many grocery lists my mom gave me. They were colored, categorized, sometimes illustrated, often confusing, and very very long. As she became bedridden and of course could not do things like errands, it was one of the tasks that became mine. I hated that painting. Instead of describing what I felt, it just seemed completely cold, stilted, and unlike anything I would normally connect to my mother, even as she was changing–so I painted over it.
The newly painted image transformed the old work into an airy, pastel world, utilizing both party-store finds and fine art materials. This includes such varied materials as horses made of confetti, candy-colored purples and blues made from oils, and birthday party tissue paper; all quietly and joyfully invading the scene. I thought I was simply unable to ever make art about my mom. I instead looked to escapism from all the confusing feelings I had in regards to her.
I look at how my work has been evolving since then, and I am able to develop many reasons why both conceptually and aesthetically the metallic, glittery, and reflective materials are in my art. However, it is not until very recently do I truly see where it all comes from.
As an illustrator and lover of film, my mother created a myriad of drawings, cards, stationary, collages, birthday games, board games, and complete decorations for every kind of holiday imaginable. Each item was usually drawn with graphite, inked, and finally colored and decorated with her hand. Her embellishments went beyond her favorite felt-tipped markers, though. There was always something sparkly. And gold. She loved the color gold! From adhering loose glitter to her illustrated old Hollywood stars, to shimmery puff paint and glitterized glue that was often seen outlining her subject matter. I know now that I have not been entirely failing at honoring my many feelings towards my mother, and nor could I ever try to escape it.
The following works are paintings I had started while becoming a mother as I was losing my own. This body of work also features new images I have been creating, that attempt to explore my feelings of what it has been like for me to be taking care of a happy and inspiring new baby, while dealing with the weirdness of grief. When I’m not feeling able to express myself with words or my voice (often), I choose to communicate through image. Though my mother spoke eloquently, visual art was also a frequent means of her communication. With each new day of motherhood, I increasingly wish that I could talk with my mother. I don’t know if she can see what I’m doing or know any of the thoughts in my head that I want her to hear. I do know that I would not be an artist if it weren’t for her, and more importantly, I would not have been able to become a mother. It is because of her that I can be an artist, and that I can be a mother, and a being.
With everything I make, I am celebrating her.