Jess Levey

Title

Jess Levey

Contributor

Jess Levey

Artist Statement

My two most recent video projects are directly related to motherhood, and I am currently working on a new video piece for which I am interviewing mothers about their experiences during the pandemic:

Bathtime:
A sound and video piece reflecting on the overwhelming day to day life as a mother and teacher in NYC in 2020.

In March, when we began our lockdown in NYC I was constantly struggling to both find solitude and to warm my chilled bones. It was still winter, and I was persistently cold and exhausted. My mother in law was staying with us and our daughter was sleeping in our bedroom with my husband and I, while her grandmother used her room. Our small apartment became even tighter. Our neighborhood of Jackson Heights, Queens quickly became the epicenter of the epicenter. We couldn’t go outside except for the quick grocery store run on the deserted streets with storefront after storefront shuttered with grey metal gates. I began taking scalding hot baths at night to both be alone and to be immersed in quiet. Yet, it was never truly quiet since the sound of the drain was obnoxiously aggressive. The only way to experience complete silence was to tightly grasp the drain with my feet. Like most parents during quarantine, my small attempts for any semblance of solitude and quiet were futile. I craved for these moments, yet even when I could find them, it was impossible to quiet the sounds of the many stresses within my own mind. The image and gesture of my attempt to quiet the drain sparked the inspiration for this piece. The layering of various sounds becomes heightened throughout the piece in much the same way that our anxieties increasingly heighten throughout our days in quarantine during this pandemic.

Mama’s ABCs:
Mama’s ABCs explores the often complicated and dramatic emotions that come with motherhood. In this multi-media collage various female voices express words from both sides of the parenting spectrum as a child’s puzzle is put into place. The inspiration for this work came to me while laying in bed with a fever while the repetitive, grating sounds from a broken alphabet puzzle served as the background to my already unpleasant mental and physical state. This piece utilizes my photo/video collage process for which aspects of a photograph are removed and then replaced with video projection. For the sound collage, I invited various mothers to sit in silence and record themselves as they spontaneously recalled words that came to mind when they thought about their child.

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Citation

jess, “Jess Levey,” Artist Parent Index , accessed May 17, 2021, https://artistparentindex.com/items/show/561.

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