Make Art / Not Sad is an on-line exhibition by Kim Hopson, Kelly Marshall, Jen McGowan, Margaux Portron and Helen Sargeant. This exhibition explores creativity, care and the maternal identity in relation to mental health and wellbeing. The artists all make work that stems from their personal experiences of being mothered and mothering. They utilise their practice to critique, subvert, tell stories, empower and transform our knowledge and understanding of what it is to be both artist and mother.
Jen Mc Gowan employs sharp wit and dark humour to present Medicated Mothers, a series of playfully constructed collages created from found 1950’s magazine advertisements. Kelly Marshall presents a series of photographs Gran’s Lipstick documenting a performance by which she draws upon her body with red lipstick to explore speculative matriarchies, generational trauma, and resilience through exploration of the body. Kim Hopson’s Sweater Weather collages and drawings include figures being overtaken and trapped by knitwear; these works are a reflection of how she feels constricted while wrapping herself and her children in winter clothes as she negotiates “snaps and sleeves and buttons and zippers” with one hand.
Margaux Portron sketches in pencil and thread from her Podding Peas project draw upon memories and stories confided to her by women in her family, where lines carefully trace narratives of migration, legitimacy, loss, grief and love. Helen Sargeant’s Lost Daughter watercolour paintings look at the effects of the transition to motherhood on a woman’s identity, through the portrayal of a heavily pregnant women and a young girl who have become stuck inside the illustrated pages of a childhood book.
The group met through the Artist / Mother community and developed this exhibition together in response to ideas and personal stories that they shared and exchanged whilst participating in the Fall Crit Group Programme. This exhibition has been co-curated by the artists and is supported through the Artist/Mother and Thrive communities Taking Up Space initiative together with Maternal Art.