As an artist, I never identified myself with my family. My having a family was just a part of my biology, driving relations and the cause of both joy and sorrow. All of these identifiers caused ambiguity within me. Constriction, restraint, joy with sorrow, and invisibility were the products of my familial experiences. Unfortunately, this separatist attitude developed into a denial of my complete person. I AM a woman, a daughter, a granddaughter, an aunt, a sister, a wife, and a mother. I carry the practices of many generations- messages of motherhood and womanhood in my very veins and soul. As I began an archeological dig into my familial ties, I re- discovered and acknowledged - for the first time - my family history and existence. My works now include the very ambiguity I feel over this issue. The use of domestic and childhood materials and constructions of fabric and vintage apparel reveal the paradox of family history – myths, storytelling, truth, lies, misunderstandings, and, above all, the difficulty of unconditionally loving one another. By questioning what family ties mean to me, I offer a record of one artist’s journey into acceptance and the embrace of the familial spirit I have denied for years. My work now reflects the depolarization of my familial/individual self.
My art intends to question the roles of women and women artists. My use of domestic and childhood materials and constructions of fabric and prescription bottles reveal the paradox of the life of this woman artist. I have embraced my love of the color pink and the vintage teal that stands for home and comfort and I celebrate the drugs which allow me to create and thrive. By questioning what femininity and pharmaceuticals means to me, I hope to offer a record of one-woman artist’s journey into acceptance and the embrace of the feminine spirit I have denied for years. Recent works visualize the depolarization of my artist/feminine self.
In A PAXIL A DAY, I chose to display the medications themselves in clear, pharmacy style mylar bags. Hung plainly on the wall in a grid pattern, I make my medical and emotional history transparent to the viewer. I am not ashamed of needing the prescriptions, I am proud of myself for seeking and developing a regime for well-being. A PAXIL A DAY serves as an announcement and/or ‘bulletin’ board of my status. By celebrating the pharmaceuticals which help me to live and thrive, by being unashamed to live authentically – I hope to alleviate the social prejudice that exists against mothers on medication.
In COPING SKILLS, I have confronted and embraced my history of medical issues and my use of anti-anxiety and anti-depression prescriptions. After a practice of collecting all the prescriptions and their bottles since 1997, I chose to crazy quilt them with vintage fabrics utilizing tatting thread in rough, utilitarian stitches. By displaying these bottles (45 which equal one year of medications) on a plain wooden altar with a plexi-mirrored shelf, I celebrate the life I have been able to live due to their remedies. As a result of pharmaceutical intervention, I maintain a well-being of physical and emotional health which allows me to be the best wife, mother, artist, and human I can be.
sherfickart, “Sher Fick,” Artist Parent Index , accessed December 7, 2022, http://www.artistparentindex.com/items/show/318.
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