This exhibition brings together individual works from A.M. (art/mamas), a group of Vancouver-based artist mothers, whose discussions have centred on motherhood and art practice and the intersections between reproductive and artistic labour. A.M. aims to elaborate a model for a feminist, women-centred, sustainable creation process that integrates life and all of its chaos into a viable and valued way of being and creating without being marginalized by and excluded from the male-dominated art system.
Image: Detail from Damla Tamer’s Untitled (from Various Starfish series), 2016.
Various Starfish, 2016
(Polyester film prints with ink on paper)
Using her left index finger as an additive and subtractive template, Damla Tamer has generated forms which probe the boundaries of the space available to them on paper. This series has emerged out of a fascination with the use of starfish -with its peripheral nervous system and resemblance to a hand devoid of a wrist- as a motif in relation to concepts of autonomy in human art and literature.
Gabriela Aceves Sepúlveda
Untitled #1,#2 and #3 (from mamá series, writing with dehydrated placenta grounds), 2017
(Glicee prints on paper, dehydrated placenta grounds and glue)
Untitled 1, 2 and 3 are made in collaboration with my seven-year-old daughter Sofía. I asked her to write the word “mamá” on a piece of paper. Then, I applied white glue over her writing and covered it with dehydrated placenta grounds that I had kept from her birth. Afterwards, I used a brush to swipe the placenta grounds and uncover the word, now written with placenta grounds. Mimicking a conventional craft technique used by children to apply glitter on paper, Untitled 1, 2 and 3 investigates the ongoing process of becoming a mother and how the body and language mediate this process.
This photo is a test photo for a series in development that portrays artist mothers while exploring self as a mutating and interconnected entity. The proposed series consciously acknowledges and inverts some of the traits that have come to characterize the Vancouver school of conceptual (and postconceptual) photography by feminizing and introducing humour and love to my photographic subject and concept. One of the ideas is to express the anomaly and universality of artistic creation and motherhood while celebrating the morphing warrior, labourer and dreamer of each artist, often with humor.
Maria Anna Parolin
Almost 40, 2017
(Handmade paper and string)
I was almost 40 when my second child was born. She was almost 40 weeks old when she came into this world. There are close to 40 handmade pages in this book, and exactly 40 events (bookmarks) that happened in a span of 14 days or pages. This book is a reflection of how I feel when I think of my life. It is stuffed full, and is sometimes chaotic, but has a beautiful fullness and volume of experiences and joy. I encourage you to look at the beauty in your life – chaotic or not. Paper is made with Abaca fibre and seaweed collected from the west coast of Newfoundland, and Gampi fibre paper is made at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta.
Milk Portrait #1, #2, #3, #4, 2017
(Silkscreen and hand-made raw milk paint on birch panel)
From a series in progress of women who have covered their faces instead of their breasts in protest to admonishment that they should cover up while nursing in public. Common explanations for discomfort with breastfeeding include milk itself as an abject body fluid, or an inability to view breasts outside the scope of sexual gratification. Yet I see this discomfort strongly tied to the cultural diminishment of human interdependence and intimacy – both of which are severed and obscured by the nursing veil. The milk, the feeding relation and the generative capacities of the female body itself disrupt extant separations between sexuality and maternity, public and private, self and other on which our liberal individualist culture is founded.
The Condo, 2017
(Re-Purposed Packaging and Found Post Cards)
“The Condo”, made from repurposed food packaging and found postcards, reads as a miniature stage set, or model of a small apartment home. Within it the playful moments of everyday life unfold (especially with regards to the imaginary play of young children). This work also points toward Vancouver’s real estate economy and reveals another sort of “adult’s play” and a desire to fill or empty a home with the “right” pieces or forms for display, those that would best suit sale of that property.
Play with Parents, 2017
(Single-channel video and sound installation. iPhone film transferred to HD video, 07:00 mins, loops. iPhone environment sounds transferred to line 6 pedal with the addition of processed voice, delay and loop)
Play with Parents is an homage of sorts to the unconventional moments of domestic play, mothering, child-led parenting and questions our contemporary cultures obsession with what it means to be a good role model. Taking place in a rural backyard, 2 adults and 2 toddlers engage with each other and a trampoline in a series of absurd activities.
What’s Done is Done, 2010
(Latex balloons and wire mesh)
What’s Done is Done is made by hand weaving hundreds of latex balloons through a wire mesh armature. Rather than reflect conditions of manual labour, aspirational abstraction and decomposition (the balloons eventually biodegrade), the monochromatic black balloons absorb, bind and draw them inward in a closed form. I understand this as a gesture of protection, and one of tension, similar to holding one’s breath.
Possession Study #1, 2017
(Inkjet print on rag paper and metal leaf)
This photograph is a study for a larger video piece that explores the links between the domestic sphere and larger economic trends through the genre of a ghost story. Determining the visual motifs for larger works through a series of smaller sketches is an integral part of my practice as an artist.