Me, We, Women

Linda Clark Bio:

Linda Clark is an emerging installation artist exhibiting nationally and internationally. Linda Clark’s practice explores the complex interrelationship between the roles of mother and artist as a potential strategy to address the issue of maternal periphery. Building on practice-based research outcomes achieved within the Bachelor of Creative Arts Honours, Clark recently completed a practice based visual art research project within the Doctor of Creative Arts at the University of Southern Queensland. Her work has been included in key exhibitions such as Antipods: Magical Creatures with Backward Feet at University of Saskatchewan, Canada, and Down the Rabbit Hole at the Queensland College of Art. Clark has recently engaged in both local and international curatorial projects such as Mother at USQ Artworx, and the research project Antipods: Magical Creatures with Backward Feet with University of Saskatchewan, Canada.


Linda Clark; Doctoral Examination; Artwork Installations;
Bearing Witness/Absence, 2019, Video projection, timber, fabric, mirrored acrylic, wire. Installation dimensions variable

Clark: The site-specific installation Bearing Witness: Absence (2019) takes the form of a deconstructed small-scale home structure. All parts of the structure are hung from the ceiling, enabling the viewer to walk beneath and within the structure, to be immersed in the work. The video work depicting my daughter’s obscured image is projected onto one side of the structure, while my own image in a video work is projected onto the other. The two images meet in the middle to convey the concept of relationship confusion. The conceptual premise of the final installation is threefold. The first is that the installation space ‘facilitates’ an exchange between the viewer and the work, whereby the viewer witnesses the video work through ritual. Whether the viewer is aware or not, when they walk under the structure with video works projected on all sides, they witness the walking as ritual, similar to the circular ritual of the everyday that my children and I experience.  The second premise is that the installation is a nurturing space that creates an atmosphere of protection, similar to the way a mother creates a safe haven in the home. Third, the house structure is similar to ‘cubby house’ structures which children construct in order to create their own independent space. I have used this ‘cubby-like’ structure to signify how children create their own spaces as an assertion of agency.

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Linda Clark; Doctoral Examination; Artwork Installations;
Bearing Witness/Absence, 2019, Video projection, timber, fabric, mirrored acrylic, wire. Installation dimensions variable

Curator: Threshold Obscured 2017 documents a silent communication between the artist and her son. A piece of glass serves as a mediating threshold. The mother-children relation is revealed when the steam obscures the view from both sides. Could you share with us your reflection as a mother artist on mother-children relation? How do you deal with the dual role as a mother and as an artist?

Clark: I actually returned to being an artist after I had my first child. I think mothering involves creative thinking and is a really creative experience in itself. For me, it ignited a need to create artwork that reflected that experience. I really started thinking seriously about beginning to make art again after taking photos to document my children’s lives. I deal with my dual role as mother and artist through my model for practice titled ‘Mother-Artist Model’. The model helps me to make work from the everyday positive or negative experiences between myself and my child.

Lost/Found, 2016. Fabric, pebbles, cord, sterling silver, thread

Curator: Your daughter was a co-creator in the work Lost/Found. You mentioned ” This work is also a metaphor for the liminal space through which we are constantly adapting to our changing mother and child relationship.” What role does the art practice places in your interaction with children?

Clark: Now that my children are young adults, my relationship with them is always undergoing change, and I encounter challenges that I never expected. My art practice helps me to uncover and work through the complex feelings that I encounter, not just when we interact with each other, but when I miss them as well.

Lost/Found, 2016. Fabric, pebbles, cord, sterling silver, thread. Installation view

Clark: My current practice is investigating the feeling, or lack of, ‘transparency’ that I have felt since my adult daughter moved out of home for the first time. The definition of transparent is; ‘(of a material or article) that allows light to pass through so that objects behind can be distinctly seen’[1]. Through making an installation, I am exploring the idea that I can no longer see my daughter as easily as I did when she lived in my home.

note 1: Oxford Languages Dictionary definition.


Wishbones and Backbones, 2015, fabric, embroidery thread, video projection

Curator: Wishbones and Backbones is trying to re-interpret motherhood in contemporary art and transform everyday ritual/ personal narrative with new meaning of female empowerment. Do you identify yourself as a feminist artist? How do you think the relation between female empowerment and motherhood in art?

Clark: That is a very interesting question. I identify with Andrea O’Reilly’s idea of ‘Matricentric Feminism’, which in very simplified terms, follows that ‘mothers need a feminism of their own, one that positions mothers’ concerns as the starting point for a theory and politic of empowerment’[1]. Historically, making room for an art practice when you are a mother has arguably been a controversial act, and so I think that the very act of practicing art when you are a mother, and making work that conceptually explores the mother and child relationship, is empowering.

note 1: O’Reilly, A, 2021, Matricentric Feminism: Theory, Activism and Practice, 2nd Edn., Demeter Press.

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