Victoria L. Smits
My art practice references my place as womxn/artist/mother where I see “motherhood as an inextricable aspect of [my] female being…[where] the possibility of formulating a grander female vision and voice becomes graspable” (Rachel Cusk, NYT). I pursue this vision in an interdisciplinary practice with found media from the mundanity of my surroundings, objects I encounter in my role as mother, in my home and backyard. This said mundanity is a collection of dryer lint, dryer sheets, fabric, my son’s drawings, found vintage books on home-keeping, stains and dyes extracted from spices and garden leaves. They are signifiers for my place but are fundamental to my practice, leading to theoretical questions and artistic experimentation: How do historic constructs of mothers conflict with matricentric feminism? How does the minutia of the mother and artist role inform maternal empowerment in opposition to hegemonic ideologies of mothering? My practice intends to challenge the traditional patriarchal role of mother.
Current projects include a text over starched and ironed dryer lint series and documentation of unpaid labor in my home among smaller works. The ritual of domestic activities (lint from laundry) and the cultural female framework (quotes) are stitched over in a performative and ritualistic way to create a new liturgy. The full collective artwork includes 40 performative acts, alluding to biblical tests or trials, a wandering, leading to a theologically enlightened hierarchal perception whereby gender egalitarianism is met and integrated into spiritual life. The documenting domestic activities via GPS is translated to vector programs and laser printed on large (approximately 32”x48”), translucent acrylic. These present a visual language accounting for unpaid labor found in the home.
I intend to reframe perception through formative reinvention, a taking of the mundane existence motherhood can bring and transforming it, allowing an altered and divergent path.
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