Gallery Talk for Balance

While preparing for the gallery talk for the Balance Mother's Who Create exhibit, I decided to bake cookies. I decided to bake cookies because someone once said, "...I could have stayed home and baked cookies..." So, I decided to bake cookies while preparing for the gallery talk, just to be a brat, really. 

While mixing ingredients, I envisioned the exhibit in my head, and reviewed each piece of art work, reflected on my interpretation of each piece, recollected what the artist had written about their work and their process, and how to speak about each piece in context with the rest of the exhibit.

I moved around the room in my mind's eye while cracking eggs and measuring flour and rolling balls of dough in sugar until I got to Amy Morrison's work. Amy created three sculptural pieces that hung one over the other, presented on white wooden shelves. The first two were assemblages created with found objects and a small handmade accordion book. The third was a set of four pinch pots. When I pictures the pots in my head, I had a revelation.

Women created vessels, pinch pots, thousands of years ago. I pictured a scenario of women going to clay beds with their children and gathering clay, then sitting together, while the mother formed vessels and the children play, and learn through play to become vessel makers themselves.

I thought about my own experiences working with clay, making vessels, and the meditative nature of such work. And I asked myself, "How much of society as we know it was decided and shaped in the minds of these women while their hands created the vessels?" How many revelations over thousands of years have women had while creating, while their hands were busy and their bodies worked from muscle memory? Did they think of new ways to make warmer clothes while molding clay, new elements of language, new stories to tell their children, new tools? When was the wheel invented anyway?

When we create, regardless of our gender or familial status, we are stretching our current understanding of the world around us. When we have children, our understandings are turned upside down on what sometimes feel like a daily basis. This makes for interesting, reflective art work. When you have a large group of people experiencing similar experiences, and interpreting those experiences differently as we did in this exhibit, it creates an expansive visual dialog. 

While we may not be creating life sustaining water carriers or cooking pots when we are painting or sculpting, or taking photographs, etc., working beside our children, letting them play, helps them become a part of that dialog. 

No that the exhibit is over, I hope the dialog continues. And by the way, I was told the cookies were delicious.

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