LOGAN SQUARE — A new exhibit at a Logan Square gallery explores the parallels between art and motherhood.
“This Is Your Allowance: Filtering Art and Life Through the Lens of an Artist Mother” kicks off this weekend at Positive Space Studios at 3520 W. Fullerton Ave. and will run through June 3. The opening reception is 5-8 p.m. Saturday.
The show features about 25 works, from sculptures and paintings to fiber art and mixed media pieces, from nine local artists who are also mothers: Amanda Mulcahy, Elaine Luther, Kathryn Rodrigues, Cathleen Cramer, Kelley Clink, Deirdre Colgan Jones, Jill Nahrstedt, Kimmy Noonen and Melissa Mendiola.
Most of the artists met as members of the Thrive Together Network, a collective of women and women-identifying artists.
This is the second show under the group’s Taking Up Space initiative, which was launched to create opportunities for marginalized artists. The first exhibit was last year at Lillstreet Art Center.
Nahrstedt, an Edgebrook-based artist and mother of two, curated the Positive Space Studios show to lift up other women artists who are juggling motherhood with their creative pursuits, she said. She also has a piece in the show.
The show’s name is “because, as mothers, we allow our kids things, we allow them to see things and experience things, and as artists we allow people to see the world through our lens,” Nahrstedt said.
“I found a real correlation between the process of being a mother and being an artist. We take in a lot of information. Our superpower as artists is to share what we take in a way that’s different from other people who aren’t artists. I started to notice that we do the same as mothers,” she said.
Included in the show are Clink’s mixed-media pieces, which combine embroidered hoops with found images and embellishments.
“It’s pictures of mostly women presenting young people who just look completely miserable. I’m contrasting them with a lot of sequins and cheerful elements. It’s a meditation on toxic positivity as it relates to young women,” Clink said.
Clink, an artist, writer and mother based out of suburban Oak Park, said she jumped at the chance to join the Logan Square show after participating in last year’s Taking Up Space exhibit.
“Being a parent and an artist, especially being a mom or a birthing parent and an artist, is extremely difficult. There’s not a lot of space for someone with young children, honestly,” Clink said. “To create that space for ourselves and be able to connect with the larger community — I think that’s really important, and I’m really grateful that there’s an opportunity like this for us.”
The exhibit is varied, with each piece reflecting an individual artist’s journey. But motherhood is the throughline, Clink said. The artists “examine their own bodies, experiences and pieces of the mundane, to create otherworldly landscapes and reimagined portraits,” she said.
An artist talk with Colgan Jones, Noonen and Rodrigues is set for 6:30 p.m. May 11, and Clink is hosting a family-friendly workshop 2-4 p.m. May 21.
Positive Space Studios is an art gallery and creative workspace founded in 2017 by Mendiola, one of the artists featured in the show, and Jordan Polonsky.
This Is Your Allowance is part of an ongoing effort to bring artist mothers to the forefront, the participating artists said.
“There’s a massive disparity in the art world in terms of whose work gets seen and whose doesn’t,” Clink said. “Seek out some of the lesser-known or more-marginalized artists. Come see some art by moms. We would love to share our art with you.”
Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: