Is it just me or is the subtext of a majority of mommy blogs an essential question about identity? I guess I speak for myself. Becoming a mother has upturned my apple cart in the most fundamental of ways. Actually, I no longer have a cart because my kids wanted to play with it so they stuck their toys and snacks in it and now it’s basically been dismantled and has banana and other unidentifiable fruit snacks smeared all over it. So yes, my apple cart and my identity have both been upended. In my case, it’s a good thing. Disconcerting, frightening and vivifying by turns, I am sorting through issues of identity in the pages of this blog and in my spare time.
I don’t know if fathers have a similar seismic shift upon the birth of their children, but so many mothers I know struggle with identity. I have been looking for examples of how mothers have explored identity in their art. I am most comfortable exploring with words, but I think the art world has much to offer me here.
For example, I love the work of Nicole Gordon, a Chicago artist, who is also a mother of two young boys. Gordon achieved great success prior to the birth of her sons, and she continues to enjoy the acclaim and support of the art world. Her latest show at Linda Warren Gallery in downtown Chicago (http://www.lindawarrengallery.com/artists/gordon/index.shtml) showcases some of the ways that motherhood has impacted her work.
I love Gordon’s piece titled Cathedral II. If you look closely you can see familiar childhood toys– the sock monkey, teddy bears, and the little wobbly penguin toy. I won’t pretend to know how to talk about art as an art critic, since a semester of Art History at Texas A&M hardly qualifies me to discuss anything except the hot mess that was the Rococo period. Gordon’s work really speaks for itself, but I will say two things: (1) I love her work because what I see are images of motherhood intruding (consciously? unconsciously?) on her work, and I see the work as a whole as example of how to embrace new images born of a new role in the world (as mother). (2) You really should see the exhibit in person because it’s stunning and you can only read so many damn blogs. Get out; get some sunshine; see some great art. Buy your favorite blogger one of Nicole’s pieces– I have my eye on the golden deer-head chandelier.