Artist Mothers and Virtual Collectives: Making Art and Community from Home

Zoe Freney

Abstract


Artists who are mothers are still disadvantaged in the trajectory of their careers by the patriarchal institutions of motherhood and the art world as well as by the physical realities of mothering that may prevent them from pursuing their professional creative practices. Despite the contemporary discourse around equality in the home and the workplace, women still carry the burden of the majority of domestic chores. The transformative experiences of pregnancy, giving birth, and mothering are often dismissed by professionals in the art world, a disavowal that may exaggerate the split between one’s artistic and maternal selves. This failure of recognition within the art world may be deleterious to a mother artist’s sense of wellbeing. Conversely, art that embodies maternal experience may be beneficial to the wellbeing of mothers who may otherwise only be exposed to images of idealized motherhood in mainstream visual culture. This article examines the ways in which technology and the Internet are changing and expanding the ways mother artists can connect and form communities as well as how this shapes their art and may increase their sense of wellbeing. It will explore in particular An Artist Residency in Motherhood, an “open source artist residency to empower and inspire” mother artists (Clayton).

A version of this paper was first presented at the AMIRCI Conference 2019: Beyond Mothering Myths? Motherhood in an Age of Neoliberalism and Individualisation, University of Sydney, 10–12 July.

Full Text:

PDF


We are grateful to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for its ongoing support of the Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement.