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.
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 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.
My art practice has explored maternal bonds and my relationship with my mother and grandmother. My gran taught my mother and me the skill of crocheting, when we have been little girls respectively. My mother collects jugs and we have them in most rooms of our home, this got me thinking about the meaning of a jug. My idea for this piece wanted to connect the two.
A jug is a vessel, holding things within it, for example love. A jug has a pouring spout, this represents the out pour of love, inspiration and support for each other. The handle suggests support that we provide for each other. The jugs are made from wool which allows the vessel to be permeable allowing the love, feelings, values, worries and respect for each other to flow through its walls.
Colour has been a large focus for the artwork. Starting with the grey jug, my grandmothers jug, grey indicates old age, however It is also sophisticated, conservative and suggestswisdom. The green is my mother’s jug, green can mean safety and stability, however, it also represents illness as she is incredibly ill at the moment. My jug is the patchwork of colours, pink being my own, pink is playful, young and portrays love, the grey and green on my jug interlink my grandmothers and mothers jug with mine, suggesting I take inspiration from them both. The shapes of my mother’s jug and my grandmothers jug are rounded, to show they have gone through childbirth. My jug is tall and straight to show that I have not gone through childbirth yet, and I am still young. The ‘crack’ in my mother’s jug shows she is broken. The stitches illustrate the support myself and my gran give to my mother at the moment in the period of ill health that my mum is suffering with.
I have also added a French knitted umbilical cord, the umbilical cord represents the bond that my grandmother and mother have, and my mother and myself. The loose cord is indicative of future bonds I will have with my own children.
LaToya Ruby Frazier hides behind her mother in this photograph, like a shadow. The work is part of a series and brings attention to marginalised individuals and communities such as her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania.
When speaking about this portrait, Frazier said, “We made a portrait of our bodies overlapping as one, unified in sickness, death, and our struggle to survive. The light cast a shadow that for me foreshadows the loss of Grandma Ruby; she passed away six months later from pancreatic cancer“. Frazier’s mother is affected by cancer, her grandmother passed away from cancer and Frazier has lupus. The three generations of Frazier women are affected by illnesses related to Braddock’s industrial past. LaToya Ruby Frazier said, “On the micro-level, we are three women from an abandoned community, but on the macro-level, I see us as a symbolic state of oppression and neglect”.
The photograph of Frazier and her mother seemed very dramatic to me but showed me how a contemporary artist uses her mother as the subject of work. I can relate to this piece of art as my mother is very ill at the moment with chronic pain in her body above her waist. Her mother stares out at the viewer, capturing her pain.
I am showing 3 generations in my final piece so it has been good to go back to this reference.