The mother-artist model: transforming maternal regionalism through art practice and creative communities

Clark, Linda Nicole ORCID: (2019) The mother-artist model: transforming maternal regionalism through art practice and creative communities. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Coming from the position of being a mother and a contemporary artist-researcher in a regional university setting, this practice-led project asserts that my mother and artist identities are interwoven in my life and art practice. Drawing on this personal experience of blurring art and life, my project seeks to examine how the role of the mother and artist is seen in the context of the mother-child dynamic. Central to this enquiry is my development of, and what I refer to as, the ‘Mother-Artist Model’ (MAM). This model serves as a resource for approaches to creativity and art-making that is mother-artist and child focussed. My model seeks to respond to a lack of conceptualising of the mother-artist relationship whereby engagement between mother and child is the central catalyst for creative exchange. Practice-led research employing an autoethnographic framework, and the MAM itself, form the methodological approach for the study. Therefore, the Mother-Artist Model acts as the intersection between the creative practice component (70%) and exegetical component (30%) of this study. The model’s uniqueness lies in embracing an authentic mother-artist experience within this shifting and complex mother-child interrelationship as a sustainable approach to contemporary art practice. Through the MAM, I produce artwork that renders the authentic and intersubjective relationship that I have with my children, visible.

By interweaving art and life, the model draws on mothering attributes of adaptability and resiliency experienced through the motherhood role. The model also draws on key tropes which can serve as assets for transforming artistic production, as well as providing visibility to regional mother-artists nationally and internationally (Needham et al. 2016, p.3). Using the MAM, I explore the dichotomies of uncomfortable truths and the times of bonding triumphs through constructed narratives in my installation and video works. Through this, I have created a powerful space of agency for my children, and a voice for myself as a mother-artist. In creating this platform for a mother-artist-child agency, this subverts the patriarchal societal norms about ‘good’ mothers (Pedersen 2016). Further, this platform for agency gives a voice to regional mother-artists to provide them with opportunities that are equal to their metropolitan counterparts. The equality in agency also requires consideration of ethical and familial boundaries in my personal context as well as the broader community of regional mother-artists. That is, this project applies the MAM to contemporary mother-artist research participants, to further explore whether the model holds adaptive strategies to creative practices and can be a conduit in forming collective networks and communities. Within this broader study context, my development of the MAM serves as a response to the research problem of ‘maternal periphery’. Maternal periphery involves the historical and ongoing tendency for a mother-artist to separate out her thinking, feeling and moving body and shift it to the periphery so as not to ‘contaminate’ political and theoretical arts discourse (Boulous Walker 1998). For women, this separation between the mother and artist role(s) has been a means of ‘protecting’ her career identity as a ‘serious’ artist (Liss 2009). Further, my research considers how the networking communities developed through the MAM can overcome the challenges of maternal periphery through collective dialogue and exchange of artistic practice. By making a broader collective of mother-artist works public through the MAM, the project contributes to the disruption of the previous ‘private’ concerns of motherhood as being peripheral or regional (maternal regionalism). Sharing these concerns through a supportive collective network provides a powerful and meaningful exchange for mother-artists in its centralising of the maternal focus.

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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Creative Arts thesis.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Creative Arts (1 Mar 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Creative Arts (1 Mar 2019 -)
Supervisors: Batorowicz, Beata; Baguley, Margaret; McDonald, Janet
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2020 06:53
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2021 01:14
Uncontrolled Keywords: visual arts; practice-led research; mother-artist model (MAM); maternal
Fields of Research (2008): 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1901 Art Theory and Criticism > 190104 Visual Cultures
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1905 Visual Arts and Crafts > 190599 Visual Arts and Crafts not elsewhere classified
22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2203 Philosophy > 220306 Feminist Theory
Fields of Research (2020): 36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3601 Art history, theory and criticism > 360104 Visual cultures
36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3606 Visual arts > 360699 Visual arts not elsewhere classified
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4405 Gender studies > 440503 Feminist theory
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.26192/h0ea-5h66

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