The daily work of motherhood is based on collaborative negotiation within the family. It is an experience of trial and error, a continuous, beautiful, and challenging experiment. Linking mother-to-mother, and process-to-process is a fascinating way to extend that notion. I am interested in learning and working with and other mothers from diverse backgrounds in ways that bring our daily interaction with our children into the work.
I am interested in the transgenerational legacy of the mother-child dynamic, in which beliefs, behaviors, and past traumas haunt one generation to the next. In the Motherhood project, I work in collaboration with my two daughters and investigate my role as a mother in the context of the maternal legacy that I inherited. Through experimental and performative explorations in and around the home where I was raised, I reflect on the weight of the past as it is transmitted through me and will continue through my two children.
In the work I use my maternal body as a site for exploring the interdependence of mother-child relationships. The mother is a place in which identities may be blurred, mirrored, or completely absorbed. One may not be able to decipher where the identity of the mother ends and the child begins, and vice versa. In addition, the intimacy and intensity of the relationship creates a power dynamic that is shifting and fluid, and it is not always easy to define. True motivations and intentions are unclear. Through the mediums of photography and video, this work documents my journey through the experience of motherhood, in coming to understand my relationship to my children and my identity as a mother.
My process often involves the act of relinquishing control and recognizing the uncertainty in making collaborative work my children and being a “good” mother to them. I allow my children to make spontaneous creative decisions on how the work will be made as it is in the process of being performed. Through the acceptance of uncertainty and reliance on adapting to the moment, my practice is one of tempting failure, and embracing vulnerability as a mother, and as an artist.
I use dark humor in the work to approach the often taboo subject of ambivalence and the contradictory nature of the maternal relationship – a site of mothering, (s)mothering, creating, disintigrating, needing, desiring, aggrandizing, suppressing, nurturing, and suffering. As I play with the persona of the mother and the mother-as-artist, the work brings up uncomfortable questions about identity, autonomy, and the process of bringing up a child. It also explores the basic question of what “love” is and how it can be fully comprehended or even recognized. These depictions of the maternal experience defy the common reductive and over-sentimentalized representations of motherhood and childhood often presented in our culture.