Courtney Kessel
Cut From The SameCut From The SameCut From The SameMaternal Verbs (detail)Maternal Verbs (detail)Sharing Space
Courtney Kessel and Linda Diec at ROY G BIV Gallery, Columbus, Ohio
November 2012
Courtney Kessel
Artist Statement


The work in this show, both curated and performed, seeks to address the intimacy and helplessness a mother shares with her child. The shared space of a hug differs when the body becomes a record of measure by which the child can see her own growth. Clothing also offers a gauge that can visibly describe this difference and similarity.

My choice in materiality is based on the constant state of construction that a relationship is in. I am not interested in creating a slick veneer to hide what is underneath. The materials are the work. Both what is present and absent. The absence references the ever growing distance as a child, no longer in the womb, grows older, more independent, and with a greater autonomy.

The saying “cut from the same cloth” has resonance with the work as pieces are cut out of the materials, vis-à-vis, the mother and the child. The language forming, appearing, being cut out, etc. in the performance, How Do You Get Through Words, originates in the inner dialog I have questioning my availability and decision-making processes with raising a daughter. Part diary, part letter, phrases intimate guilt and uncertainty as readers, both specific and general, absorb and relate to the work.

*****

Through sculpture, performance, and video, this work 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. This exhibition offers a space that examines language and maternity through a feminist lens thereby opening a dialog between what is seen and not seen.

*****

I would like to thank Cullen Beach for having a strong back, Popeye arms, and the ability to do just about anything. As always, this show would have been a lot more difficult without him.

Thank you to my dear Chloé who has the capacity to understand the crazy theories and ideas that her mom comes up with. I hope I don’t make you hate art. I love you!

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