A Coming Out Party for Mothers and Girl: Please!
Last Friday was an exciting night at Woman Made with opening receptions for both the “Mothers” and “Girl: Please!” exhibitions. Over 250 people were in attendance, including many of the artists who were both local and from out of state.
“Mothers” has taken over the first floor at WMG and includes moving works by 37 women addressing the culturally ubiquitous role of motherhood, historically under-represented in visual art. The artists utilize a wide range of media, from photography, video, 3D, and even frosted cakes. The artists’ individual and sometimes intensely personal approaches to the subject of motherhood vary as much as their media. The work speaks to personal experiences (as a mother or as related to a mother), social constructions of motherhood, the balance of home and work, the politicization of mothers, pregnancy, breastfeeding, childbirth, bodily transformation, miscarriage, loss, and fertility/infertility. Artists are using materials traditionally found in domestic settings including clothes pins, canning jars, and yarn. Others use iconic imagery such as the Madonna and child.
“I loved browsing the virtual gallery of this art show on motherhood that’s up right now at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago. Lots of beautiful pieces exploring birth, cesarean healing, breastfeeding, and postpartum body image in here too. Wish I could see this show up close, but grateful to be able to see it online.”
In contrast to “Mothers”, “Girl: Please!”, in the lower gallery was open to artists of all genders. The opening was hugely successful, and included a live performance by Karen Bovinich.
In “Girl: Please!“ the content focuses on gender as a performance, an act that is perpetuated and maintained by societal norms and expectations. The show asks how, and to what extent gender defines us. In the words of the curators, this show is not about the roles of specific genders, but rather an illustration of femininity and masculinity in shades of grey. The work includes abstract imagery to accompany a theme of ambiguity or the indefinable. For example, Nancy Simmons Smith’s piece intends to be genderless but tempts viewers to see an image of female or male genitalia. The artist asks “Once gender is established, how difficult is it to remove that perception?”
“Mothers” and “Girl: Please!” will be on display at Woman Made Gallery through December 23rd.
Photos taken by Kelsey Curkeet.
-Kelsey Curkeet, Gallery Intern