Arts & Leisure

Painter Sarah King explores motherhood in quarantine

A PAINTING BY Connecticut artist Sarah King.

Northern Daughters Gallery on Main Street in Vergennes, opened a solo exhibit from Connecticut artist Sarah King at the beginning of the month. King has created a body of work depicting moments of motherhood during quarantine for this show. Between the bathroom and the bedroom, King illustrates moments familiar for anyone who has intimately cared for young children. The composition of King’s paintings often centers her perspective, allowing the viewer to see directly from her vantage point.

“Motherhood has been both the greatest transition and biggest challenge I have ever faced,” King explained. “My entire identity, day-to-day life and art has all gone through an incredible transformation. I believe that there are many misconceptions about motherhood.” 

What King presents in her work are honest and iconic moments of early parenthood. The viewer is allowed the space to reflect on them through their own personal lens. At a closer look, some of King’s titles give a more nuanced tone to all feelings that can coexist in these most intimate and often humbling moments. King does not try to color your perception of motherhood and she doesn’t romanticize it either.

A PAINTING BY Sarah King

“I wanted my work to document both the beauty and the challenges faced by me, and other mothers” the artist continued. “These moments are often unspoken and undocumented and yet they are what we encounter as mothers daily. Going to the bathroom, bathing, sleeping (or not), our relationship with our partner, are all important daily challenges we face. Recently, with the ongoing pandemic, motherhood has magnified my feelings of love, joy, anxiety, fear, guilt, claustrophobia and isolation. Navigating this experience while parenting has brought an added intensity to these pieces. This body of work is a result of my reckoning with this lens, as I deal with my new life postpartum all while parenting through Covid.”

King also mentioned that being an artist and a mother can be viewed professionally in conflict with one another. The artist reflected that a famous painter once told her becoming a mother would cause her to become a “Sunday painter.” And yet in 2021, the labor force participation rate for mothers with children under 18 was 71.3%.

“King choosing to center her family as the subject matter is an apt retorte to the idea that motherhood would dampen her capacity to be a ‘serious’ artist, or pursue any other profession for that matter,” said gallerist Sophie Pickens. 

“My hope for mothers is that they can participate in the world however they desire,” gallerist Justine Jackson added. “I think opening up the conversation and diversifying the language used to address the full experience of being a mother and/or a primary caregiver in the U.S. is pivotal in creating a reality where the pathways are infinite. King provides us with an entry point to this project with these honest works.”

About Sarah King

Sarah King is a painter, illustrator and teacher who lives and works in Stamford, Conn. She has a MALS in Children’s Book Illustration from Hollins University and an MFA from The New York Studio School. She is also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Painted Bear Studios LLC was established in 2011 and serves as a platform for her to pursue all of her creative endeavors.

“My Side of the Bed” will be on view at the Vergennes through June 15 with open hours beginning May 20, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and Fridays 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

For more info contact info@northerndaughters.com or 802-877-2173.

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