67: Making “serious” work without sacrificing play, plus more wisdom on art and motherhood from Dana Oldfather, Karen Seapker and Allison Reimus at Red Arrow Gallery

I’m so excited to finally share this conversation recorded in March 2020 at Red Arrow Gallery, a fantastic artist/mother owned space dedicated to emerging artists in Nashville, TN. This panel was contemporaneous with the opening of the Artist/Mother group exhibition, “Painting at Night,” at Fort Houston in Nashville, TN.

This panel brought me together with three amazing artist/mothers and painters: Dana Oldfather, Allison Reimus (also the juror of Painting at Night!), and Karen Seapker. The four of us discuss the joys and challenges of our dual identities, finding ways to pace ourselves and say “no,” and expanding the ways we can speak about motherhood to make space for sharing our struggles ─ not just our successes ─  openly.

Together, we tease out the insidiousness of the false choice between being either solely an artist or solely a mother. We contemplate the gendered connotations of gestural, expressive painting, and Karen reminds us that “the painted mark can’t be made without a body.” What’s more, we try to “get real” about the hard stuff: how do we make work that is artistically “serious” and “objective” without sacrificing play, experimentation, and fun? How do we conserve energy and work efficiently? How do you overcome the stigma around being an artist/mother? Dana, Allison, and Karen walk us through their work, their worldviews, and their hard-earned wisdoms in turn. 

See Dana’s work on her website or @danaoldfather; See Allison’s work on her  website or @allison_reimus; See Karen’s work on her website or @karenseapkerstudio
The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn

Dana Oldfather in her studio
Jump Fall, oil, acrylic, airbrush, spraypaint on linen, 60 x 52 inches, 2020
Christina Was a Runner But She Decided to Stay, oil, acrylic, airbrush, spray paint on linen, 80 x 62 inches, 2020
Dana’s son, Arlo and her painting
Karen Seapker in her studio
Running Mama, 2020, oil on canvas, 72 x 60 inches
The Sower, 2020, oil on canvas, 72 x 60 inches
Karen’t studio + her daughter Iris
Allison Reimus in her old studio in Brooklyn, NY
ELLIOT, oil, bath towel, embroidered textiles, daughter’s outgrown sweater, on folded, cut paper, 2020
DESIRE (Looks Silly on You), latex, flashe, oil, flocking fibers, bows, pom pom, on folded paper, 19” x 15”, 2020
Allison’s family at her opening of “Line Item” at Massey Klein Gallery, December 2019
Installation shot of Dana Oldfather’s work at Red Arrow Gallery, the backdrop for our panel
Installation shot of Dana Oldfather’s work at Red Arrow Gallery, the backdrop for our panel
Installation shot of Dana Oldfather’s work at Red Arrow Gallery, the backdrop for our panel

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