Video and Photography by Amy Jenkins
Curator: Lizzie Zucker Saltz | Guest Essayist: Mary Jessica Hammes
This exhibit marks three firsts for ATHICA: it is our first focusing on the personal yet universal issues of parenting and breast-feeding, our first large-scale video-art exhibit, and our first full-run solo artist exhibition. The works are from Jenkins’ Cradle series, in which the artist films herself and members of her family in order to reveal salient aspects of familial relationships. In the artist’s words ‘Visceral and emotional, these personal narratives offer a window into intimate life, where the commonplace becomes surprising and unexpected.’ Poignant and humorous, these beautifully composed works are sure to appeal to families and art lovers alike. Visitors should reserve 40 minutes to view all six videos, which range from under two minutes to 20 minutes.
The curator selected several pieces focusing on breastfeeding in order to focus the community on the significant mental and physical health benefits for mother and baby as well as create discourse around the issues of its suppression in visual culture (where bottle is king) and the ongoing legal battles surrounding public breastfeeding. One of Jenkins’ works, a 19 minute video, The Audrey Samsara, was subject to a censorship scandal in 2004, which guest essayist Mary Jessica Hammes explains is her exhibition catalog essay.
We are delighted to be debuting video works by Jenkins such as Held, Milky-Milk and the recently completed Audrey Superhero. Tug, a photograph in the format of a long horizontal strip, features the artist and her spouse pulling on opposing ends of a bright red rope, a now-grown Audrey by her mother’s side. The composition elegantly condenses contemporary parents’ struggles with sharing child-rearing responsibilities into a striking image rich with feminist issues. This is the artist’s ‘ first solo exhibition south of Kentucky, which follows two decades of the New Hampshire-based artist’s exhibitions at national and international museums and galleries.