I create large scale fiber installations that represent the exhaustion of reproduction and caregiving in order to build visibility of the exacting labors of parenting. Translucent maternal forms interact with domestic armatures to demonstrate a physical and mental fatigue threshold; the breaking point of mothers operating within a system that does not offer adequate support. Sagging and wrinkled, the body is a frayed safety net. Splayed and taught they are stretched thin with the impossible burden of simultaneous labors; childcare and the demands of work. The textured silk surfaces are viscerally marked with color from historical medical plants, proposing a potential antidote to depletion and agency over reproduction.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Emily Zarse is an installation artist working with the language of natural dyes and fiber processes to explore reproduction and caregiving.
Zarse recently curated an online exhibition entitled “Maternochronics”, inviting mother artists to discuss the topics of maternal time and exhaustion through the lens of the ongoing 2020/21 pandemic. She is also a graduate research assistant for the Artist Parent Index.
She received a degree in Costume and Textile History from Cornell University and is currently a MFA candidate at Indiana University. She lives in Bloomington Indiana with her husband and two young daughters.
© Emily Zarse