- Edited by Rachel Epp Buller, Bethel College, USA
Reconciling Art and Mothering contributes a chorus of new voices to the burgeoning body of scholarship on art and the maternal and, for the first time, focuses exclusively on maternal representations and experiences within visual art throughout the world. This innovative essay collection joins the voices of practicing artists with those of art historians, acknowledging the fluidity of those categories.
The twenty-five essays of Reconciling Art and Mothering are grouped into two sections, the first written by art historians and the second by artists. Art historians reflect on the work of artists addressing motherhood-including Marguerite Gérard, Chana Orloff, and Renée Cox-from the early nineteenth century to the present day. Contributions by contemporary artist-mothers, such as Gail Rebhan, Denise Ferris, and Myrel Chernick, point to the influence of past generations of artist-mothers, to the inspiration found in the work of maternally minded literary and cultural theorists, and to attempts to broaden definitions of maternity.
Working against a hegemonic construction of motherhood, the contributors discuss complex and diverse feminist mothering experiences, from maternal ambivalence to queer mothering to quests for self-fulfillment. The essays address mothering experiences around the globe, with contributors hailing from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
Contents: Introduction, Rachel Epp Buller; Part I On Representing the Maternal Body: Critical and Theoretical Reflections: Modern motherhood and female sociability in the art of Marguerite Gérard, Heather Belknap Jensen; Of milk and homeland: breastfeeding, immigrant mothers, and eugenics in the 19th and 21st centuries, Deborah J. Wilk; Chana Orloff: sculpting as a modern Jewish mother, Paula J. Birnbaum; Departures and returns: figuring the mother's body in the art of Betye and Alison Saar, Jessica Dallow; Making the Black maternal visible: Renée Cox's family portraits, Andrea Liss; Lesbian, pervert, mother: Catherine Opie's photographic transgressions, Erin Barnett; Participatory practices between mother and daughter: the art of Amanda Heng and Shia Yih Yiing, Cecily Cheo; 'I've got it from my mother': exploring the figure of the mother in contemporary Polish art, Elzbieta Korolczuk; Jess Dobkin: mom, dyke, frog, Charles Reeve. Part II Contemporary Artist-Mothers: Statements and Negotiations: An introduction to the artists' section: maternal themes in contemporary art, Rachel Epp Buller; Post partum blues: the figure/ground, Mariángeles Soto-Díaz; Art about motherhood - the last taboo? Reflections of an American artist in Paris, Diana Quinby; Maternal timelines, Sandra Matthews; Mothering twentysomethings, Gail Rebhan; The act with no image: creating a feminist aesthetic of childbirth, Jessica D. Clements; Finding the balance: a dialogue between three artists, Jackie Skrzynski; Spoilt milk: ambivalence and the language of casein, Denise Ferris; Expressing the end: a visual breastfeeding chronicle, Rachel Epp Buller; Reproduction: an apologia of the female nude, Maru Ituarte; In search of mother, Erika Swinson; Resume, Joan Linder; Masks and motherhood: field notes from the kitchen table, a living inquiry, Nané Ariadne Jordan; Exquisite tension: the annotated artist mother, Elizabeth Mackenzie; Childhoods, Natasha Christopher; Reflections on art, motherhood, and maternal ambivalence, Myrel Chernick; Bibliography; Index.
About the Editor: Dr Rachel Epp Buller is Assistant Professor of Art at Bethel College, an independent curator and artist, and a regional coordinator of The Feminist Art Project.
Reviews: 'The 25 feminist texts (mostly devoted to contemporary art) collected in this timely volume embody a broad range of approaches to its titular subject, from art historical investigations of representations of motherhood to interviews with women artists…Readers will find a satisfying breadth of artistic media discussed here, including photography, video art, painting, printmaking, and sculpture; this breadth underscores yet again the complexity and significance of the topic at hand…Recommended.' Choice
'This book is highly recommended for library purchase, as it offers wide appeal and insight into areas of art history not often covered. Although students and faculty researching feminism and women’s issues will be particularly interested, the range of authors and artists represented will appeal to a broad range of scholars, as will the unique perspective gained from a compilation of writing by both art historians and artists.' ARLIS
'…make[s] a decisive contribution to the emerging field of maternal studies, but also bring[s] the maternal to the surface of feminist thinking on the history and practice of art informed by feminism.'
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