Lenka Clayton is a British interdisciplinary artist whose work considers, exaggerates, and alters the accepted rules of everyday life, extending the familiar into the realms of the poetic and absurd. She and writer Michael Crowe are in the midst of an ongoing project called Mysterious Letters (2009–present), which involves writing a unique, personal letter to every household in the world. Other projects include People in Order (2006), LocalNewspaper (2007), 7,000 Stones (2009) and Two Itinerant Quilters (2015–present). In 2012 Clayton founded An Artist Residency in Motherhood, a fully-funded artist residency that takes place inside her own home and life as a mother of two young children. Her work has been exhibited at Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, FRAC Le Plateau in Paris, Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz in Austria, Kunsthalle St. Gallen in Switzerland, Anthology Film Archives in New York City, and the Tehran International Documentary Festival. Clayton was recently awarded a Creative Development Grant from the Pittsburgh Foundation/Heinz Endowments and a Sustainable Arts Foundation award. She lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she was named Emerging Artist of the Year 2013. In 2014 she was awarded a Carol R. Brown Award for Creative Achievement and is currently artist-in-residence at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia. Her son Otto is 5 and her daughter Early is 3.

For the exhibition Clayton will show work from her Artist-in-Residence-in-Motherhood. Artist residencies are usually designed as a way to allow artists to escape from the routines and responsibilities of their everyday lives. An Artist Residency in Motherhood is different. Set firmly inside the traditionally “inhospitable” environment of a family home, it subverts the art-world’s romanticization of the unattached artist, and frames motherhood as a valuable site for exploration and artistic production. From 2012 - 2015 Clayton served as the world's first Artist-in-Residence-in-Motherhood. This time was spent embracing the fragmented mental focus, exhaustion, nap-length studio time and countless distractions of parenthood as well as the absurd poetry of time spent with young children as her working materials and situation, rather than obstacles to be overcome. For New Maternalisms Redux, Clayton is developing a new project, in collaboration with New Maternalisms, to fund other mother-artists for short residency stints. 

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Jess Dobkin is an internationally acclaimed performance artist. She was active in the downtown performance art scene in New York City before moving to Toronto in 2002. She continues to create work in both cities, and travels with her work internationally, where her projects are presented at museums, galleries, theatres, universities, festivals and public spaces. She is a Fellow at the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto and has taught as a Sessional Lecturer at OCAD University and the University of Toronto. Her performances are archived in the NYU Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics, the Franklin Furnace Archives, the Live Art Development Agency, and the holdings of numerous university libraries. She lectures at universities throughout North America and in the UK, and support for her projects includes funding from the Franklin Furnace, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Astraea Foundation. Her work is taught in universities internationally and her performances have been the subject of scholarship in Gastronomica, The Canadian Theatre Review and n.paradoxa, as well as in publications by Routledge, the University of Michigan Press, Palgrave MacMillan and others. Her film and video works are distributed by Vtape. Her daughter Yael is 11.

For the exhibition Dobkin will present her third iteration of her Lactation Station Breast Milk Bar, first performed in 2006 and then reprised in 2012.  Dobkin writes: “Giving birth to my daughter made me question the lack of meaningful social dialogue around this momentous and primary right of passage. I want to bring the personal stories public, to consider these complex human experiences that are difficult to articulate and systemically disregarded and undervalued. Through my own experience and in talking with other women, I became interested in cultural issues and taboos surrounding breast feeding. I want to invite a dialogue about this challenging and most intimate of motherhood rites. I welcome female and male participants to engage in this discussion, with a sense of curiosity and without judgment.”

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Alejandra Herrera Silva is a visual and performance artist. Her works are installation and performance based and through the explorations of her own body and gender, reference the inevitable biological implications that the body has as a social and political being. In recent years, she has been working on the issue of maternity and domestic life. 

Herrera received her BFA from the Universidad de Chile, followed by further studies in Valencia, Spain and Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is the co-founder of PERFOPUERTO (Independent Organization of Performance Art based in Chile, 2002-2007) with several grants from FONDART (National Fund for The Arts and Culture of Chile) and DIRAC (Department of Cultural Affairs / Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile). Her work has been presented in performance exhibitions all over the world including: Buzzcut in Glasgow, Trouble in Belgium, Anti in Finland, City of Woman in Slovania,  7A11D in Canada; and other countries such as Germany, Poland, Japan, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, United States, and Northern Ireland. She currently lives and works in Santiago, Chile. Her elder twin daughters Trinidad and Evelyn are 8, and youngest, Diamanda, is 6.

For this exhibition Herrera has created a new work entitled “Testing the Waters”. The piece addresses details of her relationship with her clan and all of the emotions present in the context of a family of 5 with a spouse who is also an artist. She is Chilean, born during a culturally and socially damaging dictatorship, everyday gauging the intensity of her domestic existence in a setting with a history of fiery conflict. 


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Courtney Kessel is an American mother, artist, academic, and arts administrator living and working in Athens, Ohio. Kessel has exhibited her work nationally and internationally including  New Maternalisms, Chile at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago Chile, FAMILY MATTERS: Living and Representing Today’s Family, Centre for Contemporary Culture Strozzina, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Florence, Italy, the Tampa Museum of Art, Exit Art, New York, NY, and with the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, NY. Through sculpture, photography, performance, video, and sound, Courtney Kessel’s work strives to make visible the quiet, understated, and often unseen love and labor of motherhood. Her work transcends the local binary of public/ private and extends into the repositioning of the ongoing, non-narrative, excessive dialogic flow that occurs within the domestic space. Kessel endeavors to create a space that examines language and maternity through a feminist lens thereby opening a dialog between what is seen and not seen.  In the annual performance piece, In Balance With (2009-present), Kessel presents a version of the maternal which investigates collaboration with her daughter, Chloé, and a visible, changeable aspect of mothering. Other projects in which reflect a continued research into the subjective maternal include the solo exhibition, Mother Lode (2014), Symphony of the Domestic II (2015),  Cut From the Same (2013), and the video Sharing Space (2012). Kessel is the Gallery Director for the Ohio University Art Galleries and teaches in the School of Art + Design at Ohio University, Athens, Ohio. Her daughter Chloe is 11.

For the exhibition Kessel will present In Balance With, which involves a seesaw and the collaboration of her daughter and has been performed annually since 2009. This piece involves household items that have been curated to relay the current research and interests of Kessel and her daughter, Chloé, in a kind of portrait for the year.  Each thing is strapped on to the child’s side as Kessel struggles to find and maintain balance.  This piece grows and changes just much as the child.  Kessel will also showcase two other works: one a video triptych exploring the humor and intimacy of motherhood via a shared relationship to the mother’s clothing, and a recent photographic series, Without Chloé, examining the presence of a child via its absence.  
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Jill Miller is an art practitioner and professor who works collaboratively with communities and individuals. Her recent art work explores motherhood through a lens of feminism and performance, and her work takes shape across many forms and disciplines. In the past, she searched for Bigfoot in the Sierra Nevada, inserted herself into the art historical work of John Baldessari, and became a private investigator who performed surveillance on art collectors. Her community engagement project, The Milk Truck, reached tens of thousands of people around the world via social media and publications. Born in Illinois, she received her MFA in from University of California, Los Angeles and her BA from University of California, Berkeley, in English. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, and collected in public institutions worldwide including CA2M Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo in Madrid and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Her sons Argo and Paxton are 6 and 10.

Jill currently teaches at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and the San Francisco Art Institute. She also received an Individual Engagement Grant from the Wikimedia Foundation and runs the collaborative, socially-engaged project, Women of Wikipedia (WOW!) Editing Group that empowers high school-aged women to close the gender gap by researching and editing Wikipedia articles. (Women make up only 10% of active editors on Wikipedia.) 

For the exhibition Miller is developing a new work, 24 Hour Family Portraits, that creates unusual portraits by representing audio — not visual — characteristics of a family. Using 24 hour sound logs (self-reported by mothers) the artist shapes colorful spheres representing each “shouting event” by a family member. The result is a humorous assemblage of bright, cheery balls piled together in a jumble - much like the soundscape that continuously runs in any household with small children. Miller will also present archives from her internationally renowned The Milk Truck, her Homeschooled series.

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Christine Pountney is a Toronto-based screenwriter and novelist. She has written the screenplay adaptation of her first novel, Last Chance Texaco. It was published by Faber  & Faber and long-listed for the Orange Prize in 2000, and is loosely based on her own experience as a runaway teen in California, in the late 1980s. She is working on an original feature called The Riot Act, and is in pre-production to direct an original short, entitled Just Don’t Make It Subtle. Pountney’s third novel, Sweet Jesus, published by McClelland & Stewart, was chosen by Irvine Welsh and Barbara Gowdy as their “Best Book of the Year” in 2012. Despite having been kicked out of four high schools, Pountney is a recent graduate of the Cineplex Entertainment Film Program at the Canadian Film Centre. She also holds an Honours B.A. from McGill University, and a Masters in Creative Writing from University of East Anglia. She has written pieces for The Guardian, The Financial Times, The New York Times Magazine,Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Brick, ELLE, Flare, Nuvo and The Erotic Review. Daughter of an Anglican priest, her interest in spirituality has led her to participate in shamanic ceremonies with Indigenous people in Canada and Peru (which she is currently writing about), and she is doing part-time studies in a therapeutic modality at the Institute of Core Energetics in NYC..


For New Maternalisms Redux, Pountney will be blogging in real time from the gallery throughout the event.