I Am. Artist. Mother. Me. Oona McClure
“I Am. Artist. Mother. Me.” is an exhibit featuring new and existing works that offer an intimate view of an unfolding relationship to motherhood. Through the process of textile mark-making, ideas around the multiplicity of self and the act of memorializing and remembrance are explored. The artworks include Marked Moments (2017-2018), Wails of Becoming (2018), My Time (2018-2019), and Making Known (2019 – ongoing). These collections strive to present a mother’s lived experience as complex and compelling. Likewise they attempt to deconstruct and augment the discourse on how and what it feels like to “mother”.
Oona brings a deep love and respect for artistic communication to her work as an artist and art therapist. Oona views the art-making process as an enriching place for imagination, inquiry, empowerment, and relational connection.
Oona’s art practice can be described as ‘textile mark-making’ and in recent years has been informed by her evolving relationship to motherhood. Oona is interested in documenting intimate personal experiences and addressing the (dis)connections we have to our stories by ritualizing the impossibility of returning to the origin of our memories. Her artwork wishes to honour a mother’s lived experience as complex and compelling.
June 2017 - March 2018 | thread sewn into watercolour paper
40 individual drawings 6 x 9” each | installation 65 x 40”
Marked Moments documents the physical, cognitive and emotional realizations that transpired over the duration of Oona's pregnancy. A weekly drawing symbolizing the gestational age was created by inscribing paper with the equivalent number of circular marks. The work provided her the space to find a voice to express the vulnerability, trepidation and excitement associated with this familiar yet deeply personal experience. The collection of 40 works on paper was completed when the pregnancy ended, marking the culmination of one experience and the commencement of another.
Wails of Becoming
2018 | embroidery on antique linen
10 x 10” framed
Wails of Becoming is a series of 'movement' drawings (also fondly referred to as contraction drawings) that have been embroidered onto antique linen. The original drawings were marked in a sketchbook with pencil each time a contraction occurred during early labour. These embodied drawings document a period of time from 7:04 to 8:57pm on March 11, 2018. Art-making was used as a way to manage the initial discomfort and pain by focusing energy into the creative process. In the months after the birth, the drawings were transferred onto fabric once again ritualizing and deepening the relationship to the memory remembered.
2018 - 2019 | 365 french knots on raw canvas
22 x 22"
This project was conceptualized as a daily art practice honouring the first year of motherhood where the opportunity to sew one stitch each day would be offered. Each daily stitch celebrates the window of time that was set aside to dedicate to the practice of art-making and self-care. ‘My Time’ equally acknowledges how the acts and demands of child-rearing are exhausting and challenging. Days, weeks and even months would pass before the opportunity or capacity to stitch arose. This circular formation is an attempt to retain a connection to a former self while establishing a new identity. In doing so it was met with leaps and hurdles denoting the simultaneous experience of navigating the mercurial waters of new parenthood.
2019 - ongoing | embroidery on antique linen
Making Known is a growing collection of ‘embroidery conversations’ which are an act of socially engaged art relating to maternal mental health. These conversations involve the artist and a guest having a spontaneous dialogue while actively sewing. The participatory act intends to challenge the overwhelming feelings of loneliness and isolationism. Making Known questions how we relate and connect to others (and ourselves) by making meaning through a shared experience. These shared experiences become a lived memory through textile mark-making and signify the spoken and unspoken moments of a conversation