These pieces grew out of my Artist Residency in Motherhood, in which I used play-doh in collaboration with my daughter to create color studies, my “Play” series. This was a playful way back to art-making after motherhood, which for me was completely life altering. Attachment parenting meant for me that nap-time happened on top of me with no chance to rush off to the studio to create while she slept. After carrying her inside me for nearly 10 months, I then carried her in a wrap or carrier for many hours each day for another year and beyond. My whole being became Mother, and my Artist self faded away…until I pulled it back, starting with play-doh.
I’ve continued pushing myself using materials associated with childhood to create abstracted landscapes of urban and suburban scenes. I mix colors precisely, rolling and squishing clay. Color evokes our sense of place, memory, and mood. These pieces highlight the everyday, the scenes we rush past, the colors we take for granted. I also see this work as advocating for the importance of play, of slowing down, of taking time to mush clay in your hands and notice the particular grays of the sidewalk and road. Taking a walk with a toddler has a way of helping you slow down and notice these details. This is the inspiration for these scenes.
This “Manifesting Hope” series adds figures of myself and my daughter to these scenes. The series title comes from a discussion between Greta Thunberg and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in which they talk about acting on the most pressing issue of our time, climate change, and doing so with hope. This series is about women manifesting hope for the world, pushing past traumas, smashing ceilings, and demanding change through small but persistent actions. It is about highlighting motherhood, valuing time spent collecting leaves with a child. Nursing in the street is simultaneously an act of defiance, a routine, and a sacred bond.
I see a connection between the way women, especially mothers, are treated by a society and the way the planet, Mother Earth, is treated. I’m beginning to unravel these thoughts. This series is in its early stages.