Monday, March 31, 2014
Student Picks: Mother and Child
Student Picks is a SCMA program in which Smith students organize their own one-day art show using our collection of works on paper. This month’s student curator and guest blogger Marion Gajonera ’14 discusses her show “Mother and Child” which will be on view THIS FRIDAY, April 4 from 12-4 PM in the Cunningham Center for the Study of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs. We hope to see you here!
Munio Takahashi Makuuchi, American (1934 - 2000). Fairgrounds Called Camp Harmony, no date. Etching, drypoint and roulette printed in black on heavyweight, moderately textured, cream-colored paper. Gift of Jamie Makuuchi. Photography by Petegorsky/Gipe. SC 2012:63-8
While the theme of Madonna and Child is indeed familiar to many of us for its religious connotations, it should not be over-looked for its portrayal of the love and devotion between a mother and her child. Given the universality of motherhood, this exhibition explores the theme of “Mother and Child” across time and cultures.
Willi Hartung, Swiss (1912-1987). Southern Landscape with Mother and Child, 1959. Watercolor on paper. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Max Seltzer (Selma Pelonsky, class of 1919). Photography by Petegorsky/Gipe. SC 1990:5-21
From the beginning, I specifically chose to include as many works by people of color to juxtapose them with the more conventional representations of motherhood encountered in Western art such as in the Renaissance. In this way, I was able to include the wide-ranging narratives of poverty and oppression.
Yet I also wanted to challenge the notion of what can constitute a “Mother and Child” image. In Jerome Liebling’s Mother, Baby’s Hand, Mexico, we only see a close-up view of the mother’s hand and the baby’s arm instead of their whole figures. Lin Tianmiao’s contemporary lithograph, Focus I B, is an image without a mother, although its only figure—a baby—appears to reflect back their mother’s loving gaze.
Jerome Liebling, American (1924-2011). Mother, Baby's Hand, Mexico; from Photographs, negative 1974; print 1976. Gelatin silver print. Purchased. Photography by Petegorsky/Gipe. SC 1988:16-10
The icon of Madonna and Child is one that I encountered frequently while growing up in the Philippines. Working on this exhibition has been incredibly exciting and rewarding since I was able to combine my interests in art, women and gender, and the experiences of people of color. Thank you so much to Maggie Kurkoski for her support during the development of this exhibition. To the Cunningham Center and the Smith College Museum of Art, thank you for this unforgettable opportunity. And lastly, to my mother who has always supported me, I love you.
Lin Tianmiao, Chinese (1961 - ). Focus I B, 2006-2007. Lithograph printed in black on STPI handmade paper with embedded thread. Gift of Friedman Benda LLC. Photography by Petegorsky/Gipe. SC 2013:76-4