Megan Jacobs: Hidden Mothers and Mi Familia
Megan Jacobs brought two projects to Photolucida. The first, Hidden Mothers, explores an early photographic practice of photographing babies and children where the mother is obscured and acts as an anchor to hold the child in place (see image below). Beyond the simple act of letting the child be the center of attention, the covering and disappearance of the mother speaks metaphorically to a variety of women’s issues of our time. The photographs are accompanied by a second panel of hand-stitched sayings. Several of Megan’s Hidden Mother images are on view at CCA Santa Fe in the exhibition Cryin’ Out Loud, curated by Michol Hebron, and runs through July 9th, 2017. Other images will be on view as part of the Art & Oppression exhibition, curated by CENTER, at the Marion Center for Photographic Arts in Santa Fe opening June 10th and running through September 15th, 2017.
The second project, Mi Familia, explores the space between motherhood and childhood, where moments large and small combine into the scrapbook of real life.
Megan Jacobs is an artist based in New Mexico. Her work explores delicate relationships—our existence as material and concept, the interweaving of two partners in love and the bond of parent and child. The materials that she works with: photographs, video projections, time-based media, glass, and ice, function metaphorically to illustrate the ambiguity of the body and the mutability of memory and identity.
Jacobs’ work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has been part of exhibitions at Saatchi Gallery (online), the Museum of New Art (MONA), the Pingyao International Photography Festival, Pingyao, China, GoEun Museum of Photography, Busan, Korea, Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, the International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA). She earned an MFA in photography from the University of New Mexico and a BA from Smith College.
The series Hidden Mothers references the early usages of photography when exposure times were long. Mothers who wanted a record of their children would often hide themselves under a piece of fabric and hold their children for the duration of the exposure to ensure a sharp image. I have created formally similar images in contemporary times, as a metaphor for the unrecognized physical and emotional work that mothers do to support and nurture their children. Each mother is wrapped in a floral bed linen that both elicits traditional notions of femininity and domestic spaces and recalls the memories that have been imprinted upon them from their own mothers. There is a tension between hiding and revealing: the mothers’ identities are obscured, yet the vibrant sheets accentuate their presence, while in other instances aspects of their identities are exposed. This interplay explores the complexities of motherhood and functions as a kind of erasure of self.
The series, Mi Familia, explores the vulnerability, intimacy, and joy of motherhood and familial life. Joyous, and at times melancholic, the photographs explore fleeting and momentous moments as well as the detritus of childhood. The series explores moments that normally wouldn’t be included in a family photo album such as images that explore subtle, ineffable moments. The images also explore kinesthetic experiences that tie us to place—experiences that are rooted in childhood and yet are often dormant in adulthood—the beauty of laundry billowing in the wind or the warmth of summer rays on one’s skin. The work pays tribute to the astute ways that children observe and see the world and explores how parents mark the passage of time as framed by family rituals and seasonal changes. The series seeks to create empathy, illicit nostalgia, and honor the sanctity of childhood through the creation of moments filled with the magic of play, which is often enveloped in the natural world. Aesthetically, the work seeks to create an ethereal beauty that rests on love’s wings.
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