5 artworks from my “Woman in Raw” series are now on display at Full Circle Movement in Truckee, CA. This series was inspired by me becoming a mom and life after baby. The show will be on display for a few months so come visit if you can.
Artist Statement for Woman in Raw:
My “Woman in Raw” series reflects my story of becoming a mom, balancing motherhood, work, and sanity, my love for my daughter and family, life’s struggles, moving away and then back to Truckee, and financial struggle. All works are done in multiple layers on un-stretched canvas, as a representation of the layers and rawness of life.
What it means
The title of the art show, “Woman in Raw” epitomizes my story of becoming a mom and changing my lifestyle. Pre-baby, I was an active artist in the community, having regular art shows, volunteering for North Tahoe Arts, and sitting on the steering committee of what eventually became ACCTT. Additionally, I met with an artist group weekly, played drums in a band, worked at Moonshine Ink, and played outdoors every day. Pregnancy changed my routine. I became so uncomfortable and tired during my pregnancy that I soon stopped all of my activities. After my daughter was born, I wanted to give her a lot of attention so I had to place my activities on hold. However, these activities defined me. Being stripped of them made me look inward and reexamine who I really am without being labeled by the things I do. The works included in the “Woman in Raw” series mirror the “rawness” I felt while examining my core self, without the labels.
The Artworks and the Process
My earlier works are defined by curvaceous images of florals and landscapes on small to mid-sized canvases. My postpartum reflective time redefined my art and pushed me to express myself through art in new ways. First, I started by laying large, un-stretched canvases on the ground, (some span more than 50 square feet!). Then, I took leftover paint from job sites and friends’ homes and began throwing it at the canvas. I scraped, jabbed, scratched, and spread the paint over the canvas until abstract shapes developed. From there, I painted layer upon layer upon layer until eventually, a shape emerged from the abstraction. As a result, each painting is not only a whimsical representation of an abstracted female figure, Spirit, and family life, but an artistic rendition of layered postpartum and early motherhood emotions and realizations.
Why Many Layers on Big, Un-stretched Canvas?
Since I wasn’t yet back in shape when I started this series, I needed an active outlet. I chose large canvases so I could actively move around while painting. I painted layer upon layer to show how no parent is just a blank canvas: we each bring ideas and learned behaviors into this new role and make decisions based on that information. Finally, I left the canvases “raw” and un-stretched to reiterate how naked and raw a new parent can feel, removed from anything remotely familiar to life pre-baby.
The female figure appears in most of these paintings. At first it was unintentional; the figures were unconsciously created from the outlines of the abstractions in the layers beneath. It represents me and my personal story. Another theme is the nakedness and sensuality of motherhood. Our society makes us feel bad for showing parts of our bodies, unless used sexually in advertising. Yet in motherhood and nursing, our bodies help nurture a new being: something that is worth showing and being proud of. Swirls and curves are another theme I use regularly, representing flow, wind, “Spirit,” and the organic movement of nature.
Hanging this Show
I went to a museum exhibit where I saw $20,000 art works stapled to the wall and got inspired. I toyed with the idea of stretching my works or framing them, but decided to leave my paintings in the rawest form. I ended up tacking them to the wall. I wanted these paintings to hang like tapestries in a utilitarian fashion, versus hanging behind a sheets of sterile glass. By being floppy and unrefined, the presentation of these paintings forces viewers to relate to these paintings and how art can be for everyone, not just in museums or in high-end collections. In doing so, I hope that these works inspire people to think about their own story and how they would choose to tell it.
This show took two years in the making because of the many issues that you can read about on each art piece bios. I want to thank my husband Rob for helping me survive through this rough time, for encouraging me to be my true self, and cheering me on through it all (as well as doing all of the hard work to help hang this show). I want to thank my daughter Cali for being so patient with me and letting me still have a few moments where she let’s me be me even though I know she really wants to play. Many thanks to my parents for bringing it full circle and getting back together in Autumn 2009, despite how hard it was to do so. You guys are a true inspiration and we are so blessed to be doing this all together. And thanks to all of my friends and supporters who haven’t seen me much lately, for cheering me on, and lending an ear through this all. Thank you!