Courtney Kessel
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Performing Visibility
Courtney Kessel
Performing Visibility
MFA Thesis Exhibition
April 2012

My work has always been about relationships: in language between the author and the reader, in maternity between the mother and the child, in artwork between the artist and the viewer (participant), and right now, between you and me.

Language acts as the symbol that it is to represent the relationship between a (m)other and a child. The reciprocity of reading positions us as one who responds and one who responds to; analogous to that of mother to child. Like a seesaw, there is a reciprocal relationship to response.

The materiality and the “choice” of the edit, politically operate to acknowledge that I am a mother AND an artist. The choices made within this body of work reside in the rawness of materials and the truthfulness of the content and display. Nothing is hidden or forged. By repositioning the empathic maternal from the private, unseen space of the domestic to the public, display mode of the gallery, a subversive visibility of maternity is not offered to the public, but made public.

This show strives to make visible the quiet, understated, and often unseen love and labor of motherhood. The work transcends the local binary of public/ private and extends into the repositioning of the ongoing, non-narrative, excessive dialogic flow that occurs within the domestic space. Performing Visibility offers a space that examines language and maternity through a feminist lens thereby opening a dialog between what is seen and not seen.











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