MOM Art Annex: Exhibition & Education Center

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MAMA: Contained & Blur

 The ProCreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 23rd edition of  this scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA

Art by Jane Glennie

Container//contained 2012-2014

In psychoanalysis the container-contained notion, as introduced by Wilfred Bion, holds a neutral position, without judgement, that can be used as an approach to the analysis process. Reading texts through this position, from within the paradigm of motherhood, seems to be illuminating. It provides numerous ways of probing the question: ‘who is the container and who is the contained?’. How does the relationship between mother and child, mother and son, mother and daughter stand at any one discrete moment? What is the basis of the container at that moment? What is the emotion of the contained? The container can be actual, practical, or explicit. It can be metaphoric, emotional or implicit.

The complexity and variability of container-contained could, potentially, provide a framework to better understand and accommodate the complex and variable ‘emotional storm’ of minds (mother and child) that both ‘crave and resist’ each other.

more about the artist:

Jane Glennie was born in Rustington and grew up roaming a horticultural nursery; planting fuchsias on piecework and selling cups of tea to raise some cash. A winding path traversed fashion & textiles, economics and archaeology before a BA in Typography & Graphic Communication at Reading University, freelance graphic design, and then MA Art & Space at Kingston University. Jane exhibits her work nationally and internationally, and has managed and curated projects with other artists.

Blur

Words by Sarah Goshal

They say you

block it all out:

no sleep, sore

hips, racecar

blowtorch wake

up heartburn,

tests, tests, tests,

feet hurt, slow

walk waddle,

timing, waiting,

talking to you

for hours and the

pain …

I haven’t forgotten.

You were a pot of acid

in my side, trying to escape

with tremendous effort,

announcing the future

in seconds.

Originally published in Mom Egg Review Vol. 15

Sarah Ghoshal is a poet, a mom, a professor and a runner. She has published two poetry chapbooks and her work can be found in such publications as Red Savina Review, Cream City Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review and Whale Road Review, among others. She lives in New Jersey with her happy little family and her faithful dog Comet, who flies through the air with the greatest of ease. You can learn more about her at www.sarahghoshal.com or find her on Twitter, @sarahghoshal.

Artist: Jane Glennie More at ProCreate Project

Blur

By, Sarah Goshal

They say you

block it all out:

no sleep, sore

hips, racecar

blowtorch wake

up heartburn,

tests, tests, tests,

feet hurt, slow

walk waddle,

timing, waiting,

talking to you

for hours and the

pain …

I haven’t forgotten.

You were a pot of acid

in my side, trying to escape

with tremendous effort,

announcing the future

in seconds.

Originally published in Mom Egg Review Vol. 15

Sarah Ghoshal is a poet, a mom, a professor and a runner. She has published two poetry chapbooks and her work can be found in such publications as Red Savina Review, Cream City Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review and Whale Road Review, among others. She lives in New Jersey with her happy little family and her faithful dog Comet, who flies through the air with the greatest of ease. You can learn more about her at www.sarahghoshal.com or find her on Twitter, @sarahghoshal.

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MAMA: In Her Own Words – Painting Scotland

Aga Gasiniak

Aga Gasiniak – In Her Own Words

My creativity is a journey. My work is very intuitive and symbolic. I tell stories through my paintings. Paintbrushes, paints, varnishes and canvases are tools to describe emotions, colors, and forms instead of words.  Every painting is a glimpse of memory, place, stillness and natural beauty. Every painting is a story. One takes place of another almost simultaneously.  Synchronicities happen also in art.
Painting requires taking risks, it is like a jump into deep water. The moment of emerging to the surface is pure happiness. It is also a joy, need, relief, meditation, getting through and fixing, constant learning. It is a fear as well, journey, expression, and the act of self- love.

Painting helps me to feel the past moment of beauty, peace, and happiness one more time. It is sometimes like time travel through parallel worlds. Past, present, and future penetrate through the process of creating. I am here and there at the same time.
My inspirations are strangely almost seasonal and follow’s cycles in nature and life. They are black and white photographs of remote places, electric posts, stars, children, moon, women, shells, the seaside, driftwood; feet, spirit and wild animals and all those things which are lost between words and images and could be found only through emotions.  I leave the clues of my identity in the techniques and the subjects I use and the more I paint or create the more I become aware of it.

Creating is constantly affected by life changes. Everything is connected which leaves every painting with an emotional and personal touch. I painted my recent landscapes during pregnancy. They represent not only places and moments of stillness but also emotions related to expecting a first child, adapting to changes and getting through the journey of the pregnancy. Go to PROCREATE PROJECT FOR MORE…. [LINK]

Aga Gasiniak

Aga Gasiniak

About Aga

Aga is a self-taught artist and finds that she is continually learning and evolving in her artwork. Her current body of work is focused on Scottish landscapes and her son’s portraits. Many of her images are inspired by visiting and taking photographs of Scottish landscapes and people whose stories or lives have had an impact on her life. Her art and creative process are an endless journey of experiences, feelings, ideas and thoughts. Aga works with various mediums including watercolors, acrylics, pastels, and oils. Aga’s work was exhibited in Edinburgh and was published in ‘The Mother’ magazine.

Additional Words: The Giraffe

By Laura Sloan Patterson from Mom Egg Review Vol. 14

There is a cry across the hall. Not the toddler cry of I want, I hate, You will do it now, but an adult sob wrested into baby vowels. He squats on the floor, holding a rubber giraffe we once pretended French, a toy he hasn’t touched since early teething. He’s unearthed his own archeology, buried in a canvas bin, the culture of his babyhood, and there’s an electrical crackle of shock. He folds her neck rhythmically and with each chiropractic bend, her keening squeak, and tears squeezed from his eyes. He cannot stop—the squeezing or the crying. He used to squeeze her like that and laugh deep in his body. When he tips his face up to mine, I see that it has happened: he knows I’m useless. He’s two, the age of purest reason. But perhaps I am mistaken: was there another offense? Did they quarrel? Did she come home late, smelling of Snoopy and snow cones? I’ll kill that giraffe bitch, I think. But later, while my son sleeps. I’ll disembowel her and dance on her squeaker. Lying down at night, I see my boy’s eyes in that moment of looking up, dimensional tunnels of sorrow. I mentally gather my tools: kitchen scissors, X-Acto knife, trash bags. But in the early morning I wake and know: I could hack legions of rubber giraffes, slit the evil girlfriend’s tires, blackmail every admissions committee in the world. No use. It’s not them but a sadness sipped from my own placenta, grown in the calcium of his bones. He grips the giraffe like the last bitter tuber in a burned-out forest, a rhizome he must carry on from here.

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M.A.M.A. ~ Birth & SONOGRAM (Art); [LINK]

The Museum of Motherhood, the ProCreate Project, the Mom Egg Review, and the Mother Magazine are pleased to announce the launch of a bi-monthly international exchange of ideas and art. M.A.M.A. will celebrate the notion of being “pregnant with ideas” in new ways. This scholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the creative, the academic, the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. Download the Press Release here or read aboutupdated initiatives. #JoinMAMA  @ProcreateProj  @MOMmuseum @TheMomEgg @TheMotherMag

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Birth, 2016
by, Megan Wynne

My three year old daughter and I collaborated to reenact her birth, while standing in the foyer of my parent’s house. I grew up in that house, and I am also raising my daughter there. She is being born into the complex and conflicted legacy of motherhood that I inherited and which is embodied in that house. As I give birth to my daughter I pass it on to her, and through her it will continue, from generation to generation. In this ritualistic exercise we act out our intertwined and mirrored identities. We symbiotically define each other, and the line between us is blurred. The flipped image depicts a parallel inverse experience of the same act. My daughter grows up and out of me, as she gives birth to me as a mother. She grows from me and I become her roots, always attached to her, never erased from her identity.

SONOGRAM
by, Susan Vespoli

When my daughter was a toddler
she stroked my cheek like it was the silk
edge of a blanket and pressed
the nipple-ends of soft balloons
into the plastic mouths of dolls

and when she grew breasts
boys flocked around her
like birds to our backyard
come to pluck seeds
from the center of a sunflower
and then her hands gained skill
to text friends, flick cigarettes
from the back porch, play Bad Fish
on guitar strings, and flip her middle
finger into the air like a slim bomb

until it finally folded back up, resting
in the cupped palm of the woman
who smiles at me from an exam table
with her eyes as bright as a camera flash
at the blip, blip, blip of a lit star that will be Molly.

(Originally published in Mom Egg Review Vol. 14 “Change”).

Susan Vespoli lives in Phoenix where she teaches English at a downtown community college, rides her bike along the canals, and walks her 3-legged dog Jack. Her poetry and prose have been published online and in various print anthologies and journals.

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A Magnificent Move ~ Featuring Mother The Job [CLICK]

As I settle in the beautiful city of St. Petersburg, I can’t help but look around in wonder? After living and working in Manhattan (and nearby Hastings On Hudson) for the last 37 years, Florida is a BIG change! I’ve only been here for a few weeks, but two of my children graduated from Eckerd College so I am fairly savvy to the area.

There are a plethora of choices when it comes to picking a lifestyle here. I have met people who live on Beach Drive in the heart of downtown St Petersburg; friends who make their homes within a few hundred yards of the Gulf of Mexico, and some acquaintances who experience the desperation of having no place at all to call home.

I ask myself, what am I doing here? What is my justification for picking this spot? What do I hope to accomplish? While some of my peers are taking a much-needed sabbatical, and many of my colleagues (who are just a few years ahead of me) are thinking about retirement, I have chosen to create a live/work situation across the street from St. Petersburg High School in the Historic Kenwood Arts District of downtown St. Pete. Most recently, Kenwood won first place in the “Physical Revitalization-Single Neighborhood LINK.”  (continue reading below slide show)….

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This decision honors a commitment made after years of great personal adversity. Bed-ridden from SLE and renal complications in my late thirties, into my mid-forties, I had a lot of time to think about my life– and life in general. Although I had been amply blessed and was grateful for much of what I received in terms of the health of my children and financial well-being, I began to realize that I had not been living up to my potential. I received a very clear spiritual message. Illness was the universe’s way of making me tune into a much larger mission.

This new thirst for knowledge and longing for empowerment led me towards a feminist sociological investigation into the arts, history, and science of motherhood and mothering. From the ridiculous to the sublime I screamed, sang, and shouted from the stage with my band Housewives On Prozac. Slowly, a vision for mothers in the visual and performing arts crystallized. (You can read more about this at Mutha Magazine. LINK is HERE).

Now, sixteen years later (and twenty-seven years after my first child), I am bringing the latest incarnation of the Museum of Motherhood to 538 28th St. N. St. Petersburg, Florida 33713. The Museum has popped up in Dobbs Ferry, NY (2003-2005), 401 E. 84th St. NYC (2011-2014), and now: here. The aim of this newest space is to forge community connections while highlighting exhibitions about mothers, fathers, and families. I am so very thrilled that Alexia Nye Jackson has agreed to share her fantastic work titled “Mother The Job,” an arts-based, economic exploration of motherhood in the U.S.A.

Also included are the ProCreate Project Archive and assorted fine art by Anna Rose Bain, Helen Knowles, Vee Malnar, Ronni Komarow, Noa Shay, Norman Gardner, and others. The Museum will open its doors to the public beginning September 2016. Hours will be Thursday & Friday 11-6pm and Saturday 1-4, by appointment only for tours, talks, films, and special activities. Visitors may access our extensive collection of books in the Andrea O’Reilly Library. Call 207.504.3001 (877.711.6667).

We will also launch three new initiatives in addition to Mother Studies courses online, the JourMS (Journal of Mother Studies), and the Annual Academic M.O.M. Conference each May in NYC. Those additions include the “I ❤ M.O.M. Conference” in February; featuring Arts, Academics, and Inspiration, and “A Night At The Museum” initiative on Air BnB, whereby guests will be able to spend a night at the Museum, and by summer 2017 we will offer non-profit residencies for writers, artists, and scholars in the area of mother studies.

As the Museum’s founder and director, I am modeling my commitment to this current exhibition space after Eleanor Morse (among others). Eleanor helped to co-found the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg circa 1982 after her (and her husbands’) personal collection of Dali paintings spawned what is now arguably one of the centerpieces of St. Petersburg’s cultural landscape. Let the good work continue. ~ M. Joy Rose (website)

**Read more about my commitment to the Tampa Bay area: Feminism, Football, and Family [Article LINK]

MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

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The Space in Between and a Leap of Faith [Click]

Art by Sophie Starzenski 

Project: The space in between
It always happens to me while seeing an image, a landscape, a moment… or just seeing something that I find difficult to explain, a situation that I find inexplicably beautiful. I’m not talking about the beauty of it’s colours or it’s shapes – I’m talking about something different. Something that resonates within us. That beauty depends on the observer, or you could say that it depends on the resonance of the receiver. With time, I could define it this way. Before I used to say what moved me to take certain photos was the space in between the matter.

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Leap of Faith
Deborah L. Blicher
From Mom Egg Review Vol. 13

The little boy I hope will become my son lines up his scuffed shoes on the edge of the sandbox, gauging the distance to the ground. It’s sixty degrees out, but like all the children I have seen in this Russian city, he’s overdressed to my American eye. Between his striped, knitted cap and puffy blue coat, I can hardly see his face. We speak different languages, but as far as I can tell, he hates me.

The boy, whose name in Misha, is two and a half, with feathery blond eyebrows and merry eyes. Four days ago, my husband Peter and I met him and his sister at their orphanage. The children smiled up at us in the entryway decorated with finger paintings. When their caregiver Anna introduced us–as friends, not yet as parents–they giggled and scrambled down the hall. Smitten, we followed. They rolled trucks at us across the living room carpet. We had a pretend tea-party on the floor and a real one at the table. When Misha vaulted onto the couch and unfurled his body into a magnificent headstand, Anna instructed him to come down. Like every two year old in the world, he refused, so she carried him to the time-out chair.

Over the last three days, the children have sought increasing intimacy with us: holding our hands, daring us to chase them, imitating our English. Yesterday, they ran down the hall in their socks to greet us with outstretched arms. This morning, however, our final visit, they seem subdued. Misha’s sister Katja gravely takes Peter’s hand and leads him to the playground sandbox. Misha doesn’t follow. I walk him to the jungle-gym, which he climbed yesterday with joyful grace. Today he climbs grudgingly. He lets his fingers slip and watches me catch him, and he squawks if I stand too close. I feel he’s wondering both, “Will you keep me safe?” and “Will you give me freedom?”

I decide to try the swing, which he loved yesterday. He faces away from me as I carry him and slumps with apathy when I push him. From behind the swing, I ask whether he’s all right: “Te harasho?”  He turns one round ear towards me but won’t reply. When I walk around to the front of the swing, he searches my face a long time.

Back at the sandbox, Peter and Katja have built a row of sandcastles. Peter is earnestly and slowly counting them for her in English. The expression on Katja’s sharp-chinned face suggests she’d like to have him committed. When I set Misha beside her, he turns his back on me and starts singing with a songbird’s loveliness. Then he extends a flattened palm and wipes out the sand-castle I’m building.

Finally I understand. Someone’s explained to the children that Peter and I want to adopt them, taking them away from the life they know. Misha is not angry with Peter because Peter won’t replace a father figure, but he’s angry with me because I’ll replace Anna, the only mother he knows.

His loss staggers me.

My instinct is to offer love and wait. I begin by heaping up sand-castles for him to smash.

He does.

Soon, it will be time for us to go inside. Peter and I will remove the children’s coats in the entryway and line up their shoes next to ours. We’ll share cake and tea. Katja will pour out pretend tea. Then Peter and I will sign documents stating our intention to adopt.

I stand up, brushing off sand. Peter scoops up Katja. Misha climbs onto the edge of the sandbox and gauges the distance to the ground. I don’t reach out to help him. I know he doesn’t trust me, the usurper.

He slides his eyes to me for a moment. I resist every urge. Then he puts his hand into mine, grips hard, and jumps.

Deborah L. Blicher is a Boston-area essayist, editor, and coach. Her work has appeared in Brain, Child; Lilith; and The Boston Globe Magazine. Her website (always in progress) is http://www.deborahblicher.org.

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The ProCreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the continuation of  this literary and scholarly discourse which intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the academic,the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA

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The Measurement Project & Pregnant With Meaning

The ProCreate Project, the Museum of Motherhood and the Mom Egg Review are pleased to announce the 10th edition of  thisscholarly discourse intersects with the artistic to explore the wonder and the challenges of motherhood. Using words and art to connect new pathways between the academic,the para-academic, the digital, and the real, as well as the everyday: wherever you live, work, and play, the Art of Motherhood is made manifest. #JoinMAMA

Each day of pregnancy, the artist Sarah Irvin measured her stomach at navel height with a piece of yarn. The Measurement Project is the accumulation of this daily ritual.More about the artist:

Current project-based series is entitled A Bringing Forth, derived from the Latin root of the term post-partum. The work is enabled by and exists within the context of motherhood. In the struggle to reconcile the notion of parenting to my practice, the artist decided that it was the nature of the practice that needed to adapt, not the nature of parenthood.

Sarah established mechanisms to capture the physical actions of parenting as a mark on a page. For instance, the area rugs in the nursery created transfer drawings as she walked across them, the glider rocker created drawings as she and the baby rocked, and the stroller created drawings while strolling.  These works were enabled by the activities of the daily routine and captured the kinetic energy and labor involved in the care and nurturing of an infant. During the second and third months of her daughter’s life, she created a series of watercolors exclusively while she slept, with each set considered complete when she awoke, allowing my circumstances to dictate aspects of my creative output. While breastfeeding, Sarah made drawings on paper created from bed sheets. Looping marks in the drawings corresponded to individual suck and swallow motions of nursing and provided real-time read of the experience. Other iterations of this series include Sarah’s daughter’s nursery as camera obscura; cyanotypes created with her blankets, toys and clothing; silverpoint drawings tracing her early movements made with jewelry from her grandmother; and paintings made with a baby bottle and formula. [More at Procreate Project]

MAMA ISSUE N.11

PREGNANT WITH MEANING
by Anelie Crighton

Pregnancy, as experienced, is not a metaphor, but a challenge: those solid thumps to the ribcage are reminders that much as you might like to think of yourself as a brain on a stick, an intellect tethered to the complex technology that is the body, you are in fact a placental mammal. You need to work? No, you need to nap. You want to stride along like you always did, long straight steps, fast and confident? By week 30 it will be all you can do not to waddle.

My walking mantra is, ‘There is nothing wrong with your legs. There is nothing wrong with your legs.’ This is strictly true. There is, however, something wrong with my feet (swollen), pelvis (slowly disconnecting), lower back (hurting), stomach muscles (stretched), blood pressure (low) and brain (sorry?). My horizons have gradually contracted. My slow pace and ready fatigue make the ten minute tram ride into the centre of town seem the equal of a day-long trek. At home I must intersperse activity with rest, reaching for another glass of iced water while I prop up my comically puffy feet. I feel hot all the time, and am immensely fond of very cold drinks and ice cream. Very cold ice cream drinks are also acceptable.
The tenant has been excellent company. Once his movements were detectable at 22 weeks, his wriggles and stretches and somersaults were delightful. While he still had the room he moved rapidly and erratically, brief flutterings and jabs like the strangest indigestion you’ve ever had. As he’s grown, his reachings have slowed, become more definite, more obviously in response to changes in his environment. Any time I lean forward, a small foot firmly reminds me that he does not appreciate cramped lodgings. I have pointed out that at 5’10” I offer quite spacious accommodation, but the kicks continue.

One day my husband caught a glimpse of me dressing and said in wonder, ‘You look beautiful.’ I found this astonishing; I look like a woman who’s swallowed a basketball, perhaps to distract attention from her thick ankles and dry hair. I have had a protruding belly for months yet still misjudge my movements, my round new boundary regularly encountering table edges and door frames. Numerous sleepless nights have hung a crescent under each eye. The fit of my voluminous maternity pants gets a little more snug each week. There is beauty here?

Observed and observing, one’s progress is constantly at issue – are you gaining weight, feeling worse, sleeping less? Is the baby growing longer and fattening up, does it move ten times an hour twice a day? Once you’ve exhausted the present, the future beckons: that unpredictable day (early? late?) when the contractions begin, and the x hours thereafter when you’ll breathe and relax and finally make up your mind about an epidural. The days to follow with the fragile and confused newborn, the nights of crying and feedings. And just wait ‘til they’re a year old! Or 18 months! Or two years! The early months will feel like years, they say, when they’re not saying it will all go by so fast. Parenting is asynchrony.

What a rude shock this is, this memento corporis, this foregrounding of flesh-and-blood. Our social selves are fundamentally intellectual, personas sprung from the mind which connect through the invisible media of speech and sight. We are our words, our views, our status updates – until pregnancy, when the body reasserts itself. It has a formidable arsenal to bring you down: faintness, fatigue, pain, squeezed lungs: all of these are more than equal to your conviction that you can carry on as though your ballooning midriff is a minor inconvenience. Sure, march up that staircase – just don’t expect to get to the top without puffing like a steam train and feeling dizzy. Keep working or studying, but be ready to embrace synonyms and dead-ends, distraction and sudden blanks. A new patience with yourself is required, a temporary accommodation. Because the fact is, you’re extremely busy. Under the surface you’re assembling genes and cells, connecting neurons and testing muscles. Science-fiction factories of precision parts could only dream of replicating with your efficiency. Pregnancy has evolved from being an accessible miracle, a blessed mystery bestowed upon us by a benevolent creator, to seeming the supreme technological achievement, an inbuilt instruction set of vast complexity which draws millions of parts into just the relation required to produce a new thinking, feeling person. The terminology might have changed, but our awe is the same.

And so the due date looms, and I am working my way through the last chores and warily witnessing what new discomforts my body devises. The pivot-point of birth separates the weeks before, which are trapped beneath a net of plans and appointments and checklists and advice; and the weeks after, nothing but a huge blank, a cute stranger with incoherent needs, a new life for him, for my husband, and for me. A challenge, indeed, which will forever re-balance the relationship between mind and body.

Author Bio: Anelie Crighton is an Australian Arts grad raising her little blonde bundle of energy in Germany who ekes out snippets of time to write between loads of laundry and rounds of raucous baby giggling. anelie.wordpress.com