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!