Curate 757

S5 E9 | FULL EPISODE

Megan Wynne

Megan Wynne is a Chesapeake photographer and exhibitor in New Waves 2020, MOCA’s 25th juried exhibition. Her work explores motherhood and the family unit with bold, personal imagery.

AIRED: April 07, 2021 | 0:06:39
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TRANSCRIPT

(bright music)

(upbeat electronic music)

- I always made art about relationships.

When I became a mother,

I was really affected by the intimacy and the vulnerability,

unlike any other relationship I'd ever had.

My work is about telling the story

of the experience of being a mother.

I was adopted at birth,

so it was all so very strange

to physically have my own child,

and how dependent they were on me.

I never grew up seeing anyone breastfeed,

and I did it, which was so intense! (laughs)

I started to document it.

That was my very first experience

of making work on motherhood.

I'm inspired by visual ideas

and ways in which I can imagine my kids can engage.

And that requires a lot of thinking and planning

because I often have one shot that I can do it.

I don't wanna do something that's not fun for my kids,

'cause then they won't wanna make art with me!

(upbeat rock music) (people chattering)

My plan was to become a professional tap dancer,

but you can't major in tap dancing in college,

so (chuckles) I went into fine art school.

I started out in painting,

but I did photography when I was a sculpture major,

and then I got an MFA in new genres.

This piece is from my MFA thesis exhibition.

I was interested in 16th and 17th century

anatomical engravings.

I thought of them and how they were done

as kind of metaphors for human frailty.

And here's an example of something I was inspired by.

It's essentially a cadaver holding open their skin

so that you can see their insides.

So it just seemed like a metaphor

for frailty and exposing oneself.

(meditative music)

This is another piece that I have up in my studio.

It's from a series called "Foundation."

With this series, I thought about the idea of a mother

being present or having a trace of herself there,

kind of a haunting feeling.

They speak to the invisibility of caregiving.

All kids are good artists!

That's why my husband's an elementary art teacher.

He just pumps the work he sees every day.

It's so inspiring, and it feeds his practice.

And he used to teach college, he used to teach at VCU!

And it's like he can't compare it to the joy he gets

from seeing the work of first graders! (laughs)

(electric guitar music) ♪ I will drive past your house ♪

We take our kids really seriously.

We don't take ourselves too seriously.

It's kind of asserting the validity

of the creative impulse in the children.

We encourage them, we try to create an environment

where they feel free to express themselves.

And sometimes I'm shocked with how comfortable they are.

- [Girls] Let's go! (upbeat rock music)

- This project I've worked on with my kids,

I revisited a concept

I've already worked with in the past,

and that piece is called "Mask of Motherhood."

- [Girl] I'm painting a mask.

- I actively choose to give up control

and see what will happen

and how far they would take it,

because you don't really know!

- This doesn't look like you're sick at all!

- No, it looks like you're happy, happy, happy.

- I wanted to experiment in giving up control,

a metaphor for being a parent, being a mother.

I wanted to revisit the idea with three children,

and they're different ages now.

(upbeat music continues)

(children chattering)

♪ Fear no more, fear no more ♪ (children laughing)

♪ Fear no more ♪ (children chattering)

My son was delighted,

but you could see him climbing on my head.

It was more violent than last time. (giggles)

For some reason, that dance, it's like a circus.

That dance is thrilling to me. It's exciting.

Just free experimentation, which I think is beautiful.

The more I think about my work, and it's evolved,

I think about the fear of failure.

I've started realizing more

the kind of everyday struggle of motherhood

combined with the joy and humor of it.

Like with a lot of my work, it's an exercise of letting go,

allowing myself to feel the anxiety and doing it anyway.

I feel like when my pieces are successful,

they have that element to them of me really allowing myself

not to know what's gonna happen and not being afraid.

The experience of any relationship

is not all perfectly serene, nor should it be!

And that's kind of how motherhood is in general.

It's an exercise in being in control

and then selectively letting go of control.

You can't completely be in control all the time.

How do I let them be themselves and grow as a person

and yet also protect them and keep them safe?

That's a struggle I have every day as a mother.

So I investigate it in my work.

(upbeat music continues)

♪ Fear, fear, fear no more ♪

♪ Fear, fear, fear no more ♪

♪ Fear no more ♪

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