Recently, I dug the fragments of my full-scale inhabitable drawings. I reconfigured these documents and inserted them into the Weizenblatt Gallery at Mars Hill University, a solo show of a career which spans the age of my daughter who recently turned 19. This is how a mother keeps time.
It all began with “Eggs Without a Yolk”, an overexposed super8 film about infertility. I was in fact pregnant but the doctors thought otherwise. Three months into it with dizzy spells and other symptoms that sent me to a gastroenterologist and other specialists, it was revealed that yes, I was indeed carrying a child – to their surprise and the happiest day of my life.
The pregnancy coincided with another huge desire of mine. As my child was forming, I was in the intensive interview process for a teaching fellowship at the University of Michigan, one of three awarded yearly in the school of architecture, an opportunity that would launch my teaching career. Fast-forward several months: I got it – I got the job and I got the baby! My life as a visionary guiding young people to develop visions of their own and represent them in ways that touched and engaged others emerged and began parallel and intertwined with postpartum, a move, and my life nursing and nurturing a brand new being.
The exhibit that I prepared contains the projects that I developed during those 19 years: drawings in two, three and four dimensions, slivers of life, CiTy-Scans and cross sections across time, through culture and the physical spaces that contain life. My work is as much a reinterpretation of drawing in which architectural conventions are rethought as much as it is an examination of humanity.
Installations and participatory documents come to life through collective participation. My work, which I prefer to refer to as “play”, is created through connection and exchange. As spaces, performances, experiments and community projects, in playful ways they address, highlight, subvert, societal and environmental issues that need transforming. The process by which they emerge is a celebration of life.
The assemblage of this body of “play” ironically coincides with the onset of a new set of symptoms, dizzy again and other such things that are not fully understood in regards to the completion of a woman’s fertile cycle. This retrospective of my fertility follows a divorce and the letting go of the 19-year career – something that I lost in the process of nurturing my daughter as a teenager when she needed me so much. A cycle ends and this is not a somber thing as society makes it out to be. It is yet another beautiful transition and birthing. I introduced the launch of my new project!
Photos and videos of the opening reception HERE. Thank you so much to all who came to experience this live!
Place: Weizenblatt Gallery, Mars Hill University School of Art, 79 Cascade Street, Mars Hill, NC 28754
Date: November 1 – December 15, Exhibit hours: M-F 10-4
Meet the artist: November 29th 2-4 at the gallery
FEATURES ON THE RETROSPECTIVE:
Interacting with art: Martha Skinner explores different ways to create by Thomas Calder, Mountain Xpress
Living Section Retrospective of My Fertility, A timeline of maps and faces as cycles of life in full scale by Martha Skinner, WNC Woman, women creating community