“You are not wonderful just because you are a Mother.”

Artist/Mother Podcast Juried Exhibition
Exhibition dates: December 14th, 2020 – February 14th, 2021

Juror’s Statement

UNWONDERFUL MOTHER  
Curatorial Statement by Qiana Mestrich 

“My mother was the woman who was closest to me. We were both women. My mother gave birth to me, but I haven’t had any children. The mother is evidently the person who creates the next generation. But there are women who don’t get children, just like me. I think the idea of the mother is far too strong. It is as if you are not a woman unless you are a mother. I am slightly opposed to that. You are not wonderful just because you are a mother.” 

Ishiuchi Miyako quote from March 2020 video interview by Mette Holm in her home in Kiryu, Japan for the Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2020

These words Ishiuchi Miyako uses to emphasize the complicated relationship with her mother that informed the photographic series and book she is best known for, Mother’s (2000-2005). It would be oversimplified to read Miyako’s statement as personal contempt for her own mother. Alternately, we can interpret her words and photographic artwork as a quiet outrage against the social and cultural norms that have long dictated a woman’s value to, and status in, the world based on the labor of her uterus. 

Artists are always engaged in non-verbal conversations and those featured here have made works for, and in response to, a multitude of audiences. These audiences include childless women, grieving widows, lonely children, lost babies, reluctant mothers, traumatized inner childs, postpartum bodies, dedicated caregivers, judgmental strangers, aging parents, opinionated family members and their creative selves, among others. 

Physical proximity is a recurring theme in many of the works in this exhibition, as we see its effects (or absence) play across space, time or relationship(s). To quote artist Leslie Ann McQuaide, “The Universe continues to request many things from women.” Throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, these requests have become nonnegotiable demands encompassing domestic housework, healthcare, frontline service work, emotional support, remote digital labor and homeschooling, to name a few. For many during this year’s lockdown, nearness to family has made artmaking more urgent as a way to process this time. 

Using various mediums, forms and aesthetics, the artists in this exhibition are together with Ishiuchi Miyako in this ever unfinished conversation. It is a conversation that goes beyond the charged argument of children vs. no children and reveals many unique relationships to and representations of the (sometimes unwonderful) “idea of the mother.”

Virtual Exhibition

Mika Sperling 1 (“I Love You”, from the series Mother Tongue, lipstick print on glass, 2020)
Mika Sperling 2 (“I Love You”,from the series Mother Tongue, lipstick print on glass, 2020)

Elise Kirk “Untitled Mother” from the series “Mothers”, digital photographs, 2020

Maliheh Zafarnezhad, “Bonding”, photo transfer and collage on assembled wood blocks, 2020
Kim Piotrowski, “Forever Blue”, acrylic ink, flashe, artist’s jeans on Yupo, 26” x 20”, 2010
Jessica Alazraki, “Pink Donut on Pink”, Oil on canvas, 42×52 inches, 2020
Fliss Quick, “Ghost”, Archival Giclee Print, 500 x 330mm, (credit: Stephanie
Defragger), 2018
Fliss Quick, “Much Like Yesterday”, Performance, Length: 6 hours (credit: Stephanie Defragger), 2018
Catherine Reinhart, “Doing Ok?”, embroidery on found textiles, 18 w x 32 h inches, 2020
Rachel Rivera, “Mourning Hat II”, graphite on panel, 2016, 30″x40″, 2019
Robin Assner Alvey, “Motherhood #5”, 7.5” x 5.5”, Digital Print, 2020
Robin Assner Alvey, “Afterbirth (Step 1)”, cyanotype, thread,24”x10”, 2020
Natalie Baldeon, “Post Partum”, watercolor on paper, 18” x 24”, 2019
Margaret Curtis, “Charm Bracelet of My Reproductive Career”, mixed media, approx. 32″ x 32″, 2020
Rebekah Mei, Womb” experimental film, 4minutes, 2020
Suzanne McCleary, “Splintered Nest”, matchsticks, 10.5″X7.5″, 2020
Amy Tingle, “Sensitive Tint”, or “How to Keep Your Emotions in Check”, vintage paper, paint chip, 14” x 11”, 2020
Megan Wynne, “Inheritance”, digital print, 2015

Mariana Mendoza, “This is the esplanade we stroll”, series, digital, 10”x16”, Hahnemülecotton Fine art paper, 2019

Sara Frantz, “Most Things Don’t Work Out”, gouache on panel, 20”x16”, 2019
Cheryl Mukherji, “I Held My Mother”, Hand-embroidered Inkjet-printed Cotton Lawn, 30×40 in, 2020
Marianna J. Edwards, “El Aqua No Limpia Todo (Water Does Not Clean Everything)”, mixed media on amate paper, 23” x 15.75”, 2018

LaRissa Rogers and Clara Cruz, “Before I’m a Mother, I’m a Woman” documentation of collaborative performance, 35min, 2019

Julie Gladstone, “Lifeline”, image still, knit faux velvet with cotton embroidery, video performance, audio track vocals and keyboard by Julie Gladstone,  produced by Mark Andrade, 2019 -2020
Leslie Fandrich, “Sent For and Couldn’t Come”, foam, pillows, zipper, table legs, fiber fill, fabric, 30 x 60 x 40, 2020
Claudia Phares, “Home Works”, Home Works, digital print, 172cmx130cm, 2020

Jill Saxton Smith, “Child’s Blanket”, blanket, concrete, dirt, roots. 24”x 67”. 2020

Dawn White, “Noam”, Human Hair, Brass Lockets, Brass, Silk Ribbon, 22″x16″x3″
Leslie McQuaide, Vestments for an Avenging Angel, Assemblage, 72”x36”x36”, 2019
Deborah Wasserman, “Plurabelle”, Ink, acrylic and collage on paper, 15” x 11”, 2020
Manju Shandler, “House Mum”, mixed media, 27” x 17” x 17”
Elizabeth Menges, “Don’t Ask”, embroidery on onesie, 3″ diameter, 2020
Lindsay Johnson, “Quarantine Birthday”, Acrylic, metallic foil, elastic, surgical masks, 24”x24”, 2020

Sally Butcher, “Infertile Platitudes of Embodied Emptiness”, sonogram series of 9, 297 x 420mm, archival, 2020

Heather Schulte, “A Question of Values”, black cotton embroidery thread on “confederate grey” cloth, acrylic glass, 36 x 18”, 2020
Carrie Brummer, “Self-Portrait at 7 Months”, Colored Pencil on Watercolor Paper, 12.75” x 12.75”, 2020

Jill Miller, My Mother’s Titanium Hip, Digital Video Collage, 6 min 30sec, 2020

Fitri Ya’akob, “To Mother”, digital print, 152.15 cm x  101.44 cm, 2019
Geraldine Sundstrom, “I Hope I Like You When I’m Older”, ivy dyed wool yarn and cotton cloth diaper, 9”x12”, 2020
Amy Traylor, “Ambivalence”,  Video capture from custom generative software, time and dimensions vary, 2020
Catherine Mellinger, “Study 2”, collage, avocado ink, pen and watercolour on paper, 11 x 15 inches, 2019
Emily Larsen, “An apple a day”, 20″ x 30″, Archival Pigment Print, 2017
Victoria Smits “Meditation in the Anthropocene; mp4 video; dryer sheets, archival varnish, invisible thread, Douglas Firs, 2020
Andrea Mindell Cohen, “La Tufera,” 82 x 65cm, Acrylic, mixed medium on linen.
Bethany Bash, Sunlit #1, colored pencil on toned paper, 4” x 6”, 2020
Lisa Alberts. “Acute Onset no.7 (pandemic buildup)”; 50x17x8 inches; Soft Sculpture – linen, light sensitive, dye, polyfil, dryer lint, thread, 2020

Meagan Stirling, “Digging a Hole (September – November 2018)”, Video, 2 hours, 36 minutes

Labkhand (Labbie) Olfatmanesh, “Baby Maybe”, 2018
Labkhand (Labbie) Olfatmanesh, “Baby Maybe”, 2018
Lu Colby, “Shame, Shame”, 84” x 96” x 42”, Lithograph on French paper, found stool
Ennuh Tiu, “In Between Things”, Digital Photograph, 2020
Rachelle Beaudoin, “False Equivalencies”, Video, 0:39, 2018
Susan Watt, “Death of Motherhood”, Death of motherhood, 91 x 122 cms, oil and oil stick on canvas, 2020
Jen McGowan, “Cookies” from the MILF series, 15”x 15”, Digital Collage
 JL Maxcy, “Madonna of the Waves after Botticelli”, Acrylic on Canvas, 51cm x 41cm
 Angela Shaffer, “Past meets Present”, 16 x 20 in. Medium: Archival Digital Print, 2019
Rebecca Waring-Crane, Mom. 41″ x  25″ x  24″, Life-cast bronze, ladder-back chair, text reflection
Finley Baker, “Lures of Motherhood”, Dimensions variable, hooks, thread, baby teeth, hair from first haircut, outgrown baby clothes, feathers, mesh netting, umbilical stump, misc. toys, bells, beads, twine, and dried flowers.
Brittney Denham, “You’re A Mother Now”, Digital Archival Print, 11×17”, 2020
Britany Gunderson, Background Material, 8:59, 16mm film to digital
Helen Sargeant, “Womb, Tomb, Room”, digital drawing, 2019
Kelly Marshall, “Pink Spot”, Acrylic, Pastel, Graphite, and Lace on Canvas, 30”x20”, 2020
Mirriam Schaer, “Your Child is the Best Art You Have Ever Made. You Don’t Need to Make Any Other Art Work”, hand embroidery on baby romper, quote from interview with artist mother, from her family. Part of a series of 18 embroidered baby garments with critical comments on them about childlessness, 19” x 15”, 2012-14