KATIE MAISH: LABOR
Beverly and Sam Ross Gallery (Christian Brothers University) / 650 East Parkway S. January 11, 2019 - February 14, 2019
Katie Maish is a Memphis-based artist and is currently an adjunct instructor at the University of Memphis; she also serves as co-editor of Number:, the independent journal of the arts. Maish documents women’s work by referencing or creating space it is asked not to consume. In her recent work, paper-cut maps suggest weight and permanence in the (largely masculine) tradition of exploring and conquering territory, but the organic, womb-like basins formed in the work – as well as the intuitive process in which they are made – subvert standard mapping conventions with delicacy and an intentional lightness.
Maish says that the artwork in Labor maps the journey from the first day she and her husband met their fertility doctor in 2013 to present day, along with the ever-evolving issues and concerns associated with raising a child and being a mother. “Ex-voto collage work gives me an opportunity to process the emotionally and physically difficult IVF experience with an intentionally silly, funny response that both heals me and expresses gratitude to my physicians,” she explains. “Paper-cut portraits of women are similarly meant to show gratitude and uncover my profound disbelief in how long it took me — exactly 39 years — to fully understand how much I took the women in my life and their tireless work for granted (after making this work, I am still equally astonished). Pushing this idea beyond my family to the invisible labor that most women perform, my paper-cut maps imbue critical weight and mass to basins meant to imply serving bowls and wombs. And, looking to the sky, my most recent Pinwheel Galaxy work explores the chaotic, scary and ultimately loving relationship that I share with my son, Jack.”