I have been influenced by Maria Bartuszova’s, ‘Untitled’, 1973. Bartuszova’s work has maternal associations, this has inspired me to explore the relationship I have with my mother. I have made artwork in response to Bartuszova’s, ‘Untitled’. It is common for me to turn to acrylic paints in my work, however, responding to this artwork has encouraged me to try different mediums, such as working with clay, sewing machines and screen printing. I feel my work has come a long way since the beginning of second year, I feel so much more connected to my artwork. My final piece looks at my relationship with my mother and my grandmother, two very influential females in my life. The jugs have many different meanings, from the colours, to the shape and the material used.
Frida Kahlo features pain and suffering in most of Kahlo’s paintings, in ‘The Broken Column’, 1944, Kahlo shows her suffering in a straightforward way. She paints nails stuck in her face and body, her torso split in half, it looks like her body has been affected by an earthquake. When she first made the painting, she left herself naked. Later, she added the sheet which suggests a hospital sheet. The column inside Kahlo’s body is put in place of her spine, it looks like it is on the verge of collapsing, which further suggests an earthquake.
In the painting, Kahlo looks strong, she stares out to the audience with tears on her face, which implies she is challenging both herself and the viewer to face her situation.
I wanted to get an understanding of how to show back pain, as that’s what is wrong with my mother. The crack down the column in her body has inspired me to put a ‘crack’ down the jug I will make for my final piece for subject. Kahlo has the corset which is holding her body together.
The jugs have taken a long time to make. I did a small amount each day, which seemed manageable but towards the end was getting stressful. I also made the umbilical cord by French Knitting.
The jugs have all come together and I am really pleased that they fit on the plinth that I made. I made the plinth big enough to fit all 3 together so they would be as one, this represents that we are close as a family.
If I was to improve anything, maybe I would make more work to go around the walls as it doesn’t look like I’ve done any work. However, I wanted the viewers focus to be on the jugs.
My mothers jug is fairly tall, green and rounded at the bottom. It is broken and has a crack down the centre and a stitched hole at the back. The ‘crack’ represents how my mother is ill with back problems at the moment. She has prolapsed discs in her neck, causing intense pain to her neck, back and right arm. My mother’s illness has affected the family in many ways, as she can no longer drive and can’t do simple things like wash her hair, or do house chores. My mother is a district nurse so it has been hard for her to go to work too.
I wanted the jug to look broken and aged. The grey stitches on the large ‘crack’ are the same colour from my grandmother’s jug. This was to show that my gran is a support to my mother. However, she is still not well and is hurting.
I have also added stitches at the back of the jug. It is the pink wool I used to create my jug. This is to show I too am a support to her and she relies on me like I rely on her.
I have now completed my plinth. I have managed to make it a lot shorter which is a huge relief. I had to take the boards off, this was very difficult as I had nailed them in so tight. I have made some splits on a part of the board but am going to attempt to fill it up with filler. I made the plinth in my back yard. When starting year 2, I definitely didn’t expect a drill, saw, electric jigsaw and a spirit level to be in my pencil case.
I painted it white to get it like a professional exhibition plinth, it will also blend into my walls hopefully.
The jugs look good on the top and are spaced out to a perfect amount.
I am so pleased I have shortened the plinth as it would have been too big. I used filler on the corners to get a smooth finish and used white emulsion paint.
I am going to keep the plinth for any future shows where I need one.
I have thought a lot about the colour and the meanings of the jugs. Each jug has a different meaning.
I chose grey for my grandmother’s jug. Grey suggests old age. As my gran is the oldest person in my family, I wanted to show that by using colour. It is also a practical colour, it is known as a conservative and sophisticated colour. My gran is very conservative, a very traditional old lady and very sensible. She also has a strong Christian faith. I have thought about this by looking at Proverbs 16: 31, which reads;
“Grey hair is a crown of splendour; it is attained in the way of righteousness.”
My mothers jug is a sage green colour. I chose this colour as it can suggest safety and stability. It can also mean illness. My mother has been very ill lately with back problems, I feel this is a very fitting colour to use.
My jug is a vibrant pink. Pink is a colour typically associated with little girls. It is a feminine colour and can be playful. It is the colour of love.
My mother and grandmothers jug is quite rounded. This was to suggest that they have gone through child-birth. I have kept my jug tall and straight. This is to show I am still young, also I haven’t gone through maternity.
The original artwork I chose at the beginning of year 2 was ‘Untitled’ 1973, by Maria Bartuszovà. The artwork uses plaster female breast like shapes and a male penis. Bartuszovà’s work has maternal associations.
This is the route that I have gone down, focusing on the maternal bonds between myself, my mother and my grandmother.
To begin with, I looked at the piece of work and saw both male and female body parts, looking at transgender’s and how they may experience trouble in society. As I do not know myself what it is like being a transgender, I decided to look into maternal bonds, mark making and observing the piece of artwork again to create interpretations of me and my mother.
Collage made from screen prints
I have explored this theme by using acrylic paint, screen printing, collage, sewing, clay and for my final piece, crocheting. My final piece was crotched because it is a skill that my gran has taught me and my mother. Crocheting is a stereotypical female hobby, females are a main focus in my work this year, in both subject and constellation.
I have enjoyed making work about my mother and grandmother as I am close to them and so I felt close to my artwork.