M*dres is an ongoing series of works on paper and performances exploring the language of moms/mothers/madres in American and Mexican culture. The series mines the political and the comical in the social framing of motherhood and the paradoxical existence of the parent-artist as caretaker in a profession that lionizes the unattached individual living only for the work. The featured silkscreen prints employ phrases in English and Spanish containing the words mom/mother/madre to critically approach these loaded labels. Some are common phrases, some are swears, and some are backhanded compliments. In English, using the word “mom” as an adjective automatically devalues what follows, and what follows often has to do with appearance – mom jeans, mom body, mom haircut, etc. The Spanish phrases seem relatively harmless in literal translation, but in context transform to vulgarities you probably wouldn’t use in the presence of your own mother.
Serious Work, the first performance in the series, satirically contrasts the banalities of parental life with the performance artist persona, using a smartphone as mediator. I physically manifest the concept of over-sharing with my text-messaging naked body while highlighting the artistic clichés of the medium and questioning common notions of the “mom body.” While the audience is deprived of their own devices, I am increasingly drawn into a series of live text exchanges with my partner and a friend. As the text exchanges continue, the “seriousness” of the performance unravels to reveal the irony and humor underneath. Serious Work debuted at Blue Star Contemporary in 2017, and will be featured at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in 2018.