The Postpartum exhibition has opened! This, too, will be a resource for my Women and Gender in Art History seminar, and participating artist Mariangeles Soto-Diaz will be a visiting artist on campus next month. Exciting times ahead!
Postpartum runs March 1 – April 5, 2013 at the E.B. White Gallery, Butler Community College, El Dorado, KS. Public reception: Friday, April 5, 6-8pm.
In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke penned this passage a century ago:
You must give birth to your images
They are the future waiting to be born
Fear not the strangeness you feel
The future must enter you
Long before it happens
Just wait for the birth,
For the hour of the new clarity.
For the artists showcased in this Postpartum exhibition, the journey toward and through parenthood has included strangeness, waiting, and the birthing of new images, if not always clarity. While we think of the postpartum period as a short one, perhaps only a few weeks long, its definition as the time “following childbirth” can extend into months or even years. Certainly, the physical and emotional changes brought on by parenthood do not end after a short time; some cause shifts in identity that last a lifetime.
Postpartum is more than a response to childbirth, but covers a wide range of issues encountered in the extended postpartum period. The artists included here address the postpartum body and mind, broadly understood. We see work that charts milestones and memorializes the mementos of childhood. We see work created from places of pain and isolation, whether from struggles with postpartum depression or from overwhelming loss and grief. We see transformations of identity as artists seek to reevaluate their work-life balances. And we see artists for whom parenting becomes a catalyst, an inspiration to social activism.
Postpartum is guest curated by Rachel Epp Buller, Assistant Professor of Art at Bethel College and regional coordinator of The Feminist Art Project. Through this and other curatorial endeavors, she aims to give broader exposure to the rich art produced in Kansas and beyond. The artists invited to participate in Postpartum hail not only from Kansas but also from Indiana, California, Washington DC, Connecticut, and Toronto.