Contemporary female artists like Andrea Bowers, Arghavaan Khosravi use objects in art to tell hard truth without having to illustrated it directly. The object is infused with a message, a meaning that helps convey more subtly a story or reality. Using a replacement to replace the human figure can give the viewer a filter to ease into the work. In my paintings
I chose to use a doll’s head to explore a moment in childhood in one artwork and a parenting struggle in the other.
As a contemporary female artist I explore the tension I felt in motherhood in my work “False Role Model” 2017. Barbie became a representation of “super mom”. As we learn more about child-rearing the “what sort of parenting do you do?” is a common question and judgement. With the rise of social media the pressures on mothers is exacerbated by Pinterest boards of busy moms running multiple figure businesses, dressed impeccably, making healthy nutritious meals for the family and living in immaculate homes. Barbie represents this false image we as women hold up to ourselves as a standard to live up to. It’s an impossible role model that breeds unhappiness, frustration and can lead to depression.
It’s an impossible standard to live up to.
In this painting the table shows the beginning of meal prep and children’s toys. The never ending daily tasks (cooking, cleaning etc) that create a constant chaos both visually and mentally. They also represent the basic needs (feeding our kids) as well as the joys we hope to create (a child playing is imagined through these objects). Among the beets can be found a human heart representing how we give so much of ourselves as mothers. The fence represents the tension between the deep need to keep our kids safe and the caged feeling of so much responsibility. As the Barbie head (aka “perfect mother”) is removed one can see that the figure is not defined and almost missing. This painting was a monumental shift in my perception of motherhood. When I put aside the pressures I felt as a mom (the tug of war between all the responsibilities, my hopes and gnawing self doubts) the biggest issue wasn’t my grappling with time management but that I didn’t even know who I was without the label of “Mother”. I had found myself missing from my own life.
As a highly sensitive child moving to a new country at the age of three and only speaking Czech at home school was always a struggle. If I think back to my childhood I can’t say I remember much. I think this is because I spent so much time trying not to feel things. As a contemporary female artist expressing these uncomfortable moments is what my body of work is about. In this case I chose my childhood doll to represent this desire to hide. The head representing the facade a child creates is clear. The body (feelings) that they don’t want to feel in abstract and only suggested creating a disconnect between the head and body. In the background is a playground only hinted at creating a murky landscape.
“Playground Memories“, 2017 Oil on stretched canvas16″ by 16″