Sunday, September 25, 2016

MamaCITA 10

MamaCITA is celebrating our 10 year anniversary with a group show at Cheltenham Center for the Arts from September 18 - October 17, 2016.

The work I'm exhibiting is a collaborative effort that spans fifteen years. Lauren Paquette Owenmark and I began a project in 2001 with the intention to create a visual representation of our friendship and life experience over one year's time. Each year, (well, we missed a few...), she and I shared our stories by phone or by traveling in person across the country from or to Pittsburgh/Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Our project, "Dollapalooza" documents the bond we share as "Soul Sisters". We met in London in 1981 at age fourteen, spent two years together at the American School in London, then reconnected as roommates when we both attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago as graduate students in the art therapy program. As we grew into our twenties, we started different life journeys and the connection we had was changing.  To nurture and build our friendship we began a creative dialogue, an exchange of small muslin dolls that would visually represent our individual past year. 

The inspiration for our project was a memory from childhood. My friend's mother was an artist and every Christmas she exchanged the same sculpture with her best ART friend. This gift was a puppet head that was transformed year to year as they each took ownership. I only got to see it for a few years until we moved from the neighborhood but the creative connection they exchanged with each other had a lasting effect.

Our dolls begin with a pre-made muslin figure, approximately 5" tall. The media used to transform the soft sculpture varies from watercolor, acrylic paint,  and the addition of found objects or created accessories. The challenge has been to express a year of experiences, thoughts, and/or feelings into a single work. Usually a prevailing theme of the past year dictates what the doll becomes. We then exchange the dolls and have a conversation reflecting and sharing our year. Each doll then lives with us until it is returned when the new doll arrives. To date, we have created 10 dolls in our collaborative effort, displaying them together for the first time at the MamaCITA exhibit.

A short bio of Lauren -

Lauren Owenmark, MA, LPC, is an artist, art therapist, art educator, and trained SoulCollage® facilitator.  Lauren received her BA in studio art and psychology from Georgetown University and MA in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  She is also certified as an Art Educator.  Lauren has 20 years of experience using art in her work with children and adolescents in residential homes, non-public special education schools and charter schools.  When not working, Lauren is either chiseling in soapstone, carving in wood, hand-building in clay, creating accordion-style books or embellishing dolls.  Recently she has been consulting and leading SoulCollage® workshops in a variety of community-based settings in San Francisco where she lives with her husband and two children.

Years 2001 - 2015

Year 2015

Year 2001