Motherhood’s Contradictions

Jayne Matricardi's Motherscape 

Artist Jayne Matricardi’s upcoming gallery exhibit Motherscape (4/5 – 5/22) comes from a deeply personal place. "'Motherscape’ is what I eventually chose to name the blurry and exhausting first decade of raising my two children,” she says. “It was an overwhelming time during which I felt that my own identity became lost in the demands of motherhood and full-time teaching. Within this ‘motherscape’ I did not have the mental space, the physical energy, or the time to continue my art practice.” When Matricardi’s children became older and grew a bit more independent, she pursued an MFA at George Mason University’s School of Art. “Through my graduate artwork and research, I was able to begin to heal and make meaning from the difficult, early years of child-rearing that I experienced. The exhibit here at Hylton is comprised of much of my graduate thesis work.”

Through paintings, mixed media works, and poetry, Matricardi’s exhibition explores the complexities and contradictions of motherhood. “As a young mother I simultaneously experienced reduction and expansion, isolation and connection, anxiety and bliss, rage and love,” she says. “However, in today’s world of polished social media posts and simplistic soundbites, it is still often taboo for women to speak candidly about contradictory or negative feelings associated with motherhood. By illustrating the complexities and nuance of my own motherhood experience, I hope to shed light on the hidden struggles of motherhood and give form to the often-invisible burdens which mothers carry.”

But it’s not only parents who can be moved by this exhibition. “My wish is to spur critical discourse and genuine conversations about the very real, but often silenced or ignored, challenges of not only motherhood, but of caregiving in general. Systemic change is needed in our society to support and care for the caregivers.”

Motherscape is on view in the Buchanan Partners Art Gallery April 5 – May 22.