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On View in Montreal: "Mommy Mayhem" Paintings

Motherhood is Mayhem.

That is the basis behind my "Mommy Mayhem" painting series that was recently featured on Artsy Shark. Seven of these gestural abstract paintings will be on view in Montreal at Art Mûr, a downtown art gallery. The group art exhibition is titled "Fresh Paint and New Construction" and will run from July 20th to August 31st, 2024. The opening reception on July 20th from 3 to 5 pm. No RSVP needed. Anyone can drop by during gallery hours.

Art Gallery Information: 

Art Mûr
5826, rue St-Hubert
Montréal, Québec, Canada, H2S 2L7
Tél +1 514 933 0711

Art Gallery Hours: 

Tuesday and Wednesday: 10 am to 6 pm 
Thursday and Friday: 11 to 6 pm 
Saturday: 12 to 7 pm
Closed on Sunday and Monday
art reception for Art Mûr's art exhibition "Fresh Paint and New Construction"

The Ideas Behind My "Mommy Mayhem" Paintings 

Since becoming a mother, I carve out space and time for short creation bursts. I observe my children’s lack of inhibitions and carefree use of materials and incorporate their habits into my work. In my recently completed Master of Fine Arts thesis, I argued that artistic play is critical for an artist mother.

Through writing and visual work, I concur with scholars that humour and play are urgent,[1] and that women can both create and procreate.[2] My work does not fit with seminal mother artworks such as Mary Kelly’s Post-Partum Document (1973-79) or Monica Bock’s Maternal Exposure (or, don’t forget the lunches) (1999-2000), which turn monotonous childcare routines and maternal ambivalence into monumental art series. Because I incorporate play and humour in paint and mixed media from a mother’s perspective, my work evades current denominations.

My art practice is driven by a need to document my three children and their perpetually changing debris (meaning their messes of toys, books, clothing, and crafts). Parenting moments are portrayed in my “Mommy Mayhem” abstract paintings. Toys have overtaken my home and artwork and are always in my mind and in the way. Recent paintings are loosely based on drawings of my children’s belongings and blur the distinction between representation and abstraction.

Art routines are a way to create in my messy maternal life. First, I draw and paint from life, then combine 65 layers of this observational art in Photoshop to make digital collages. Expressionist paintings are loosely based on the collages. I abstract stuffed animals and toys that serve as transitional comfort objects for children as they grow and learn independence from their parents.

The bright, vibrant colours are pulled from my children’s toys, crafts, books, and clothing. Paint marks are layered over multiple painting sessions. Acrylic and oil brush marks build up through repetition and movement. My gestural painting techniques reference and mock art history movements such as Abstract Expressionist painters. My visual language is informed by experimental mark-making and the contradiction between my dream of control and order versus the reality of constant pandemonium and mess at home. The playful, abstract representational imagery echoes the mayhem of motherhood.

[1] Sillman, Amy. Faux pasSelected writings and drawings. (2020). After 8 Books. p. 41.

[2] Chernick, Meryl. From the M/E/A/N/I/N/G Forum: On motherhood, art, and apple pie. In M. Davey (Ed.), Mother reader: Essential writings on motherhood. (2001). Seven Stories Press. p. 201.‌

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