“ince becoming a mother three years ago, I have made work addressing my desire to understand my own fragile relationship with motherhood. There is the romance of mother- or parenthood. And there is the reality. One of the realities is about 1 in 7 women nationally experience symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD), in some states the average is as high as 1 in 5 women. My work holds the space between love, sadness, and silence while attempting to reconcile all the tears during what society says are supposed to be the happiest days of my life. Truth-telling about motherhood is not only culturally suppressed, but it also bears the loaded scrutiny of family generations past, present, and future. My current serves as a testimonial to the dichotomies inherent in motherhood.
In the “Hero’s Journey” series seek to connect with my toddler self as a means of personal growth and forgiveness. I document my current self interacting with my three-year-old self as I look back to my own childhood seeking answers about how my upbringing impacts and informs my relationship with my own daughter and the act of parenting. I leave thin trails of ink with a tiny brush. The accumulation of lines reflects my inhales and exhales. They reflect moments of focus and stillness during a day of activity and chaos. I seek to explore the conflicting emotions I feel during my days, often informed by my journey with PPD. The marks allow me to soften into myself while referencing the buzzing, humming, and drumming emotions rolling off of me. Ultimately, I am reaching for my younger self over and over, striving for compassion and empathy for myself, for my daughter, and my parents.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Exploring a range of topics from place to motherhood to wanderlust, Renee Couture has a diverse practice, encompassing sculpture, photography, and drawing. She employs everyday objects and imagery to make her work approachable and enable viewers to engage with the ideas being presented and connect them to their own lives.
Couture’s work has been exhibited nationally in group exhibitions and as solo artist. She is the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship and three Career Opportunity Grants from the Oregon Arts Commission, and four Project Grants from the Douglas County Cultural Coalition. Couture has been granted residencies at Ucross Foundation, Djerassi Residency Artist Program, Jentel, PLAYA, Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Pine Meadow Ranch, and Vermont Studio Center.
Couture currently works as a Project Manager with the Percent for Art/Art in Public Places program managed by the Oregon Arts Commission. She lives on seven acres in rural southern Oregon with her husband, toddler daughter, and two dogs. She works out of a retrofitted 20-foot camper-turned studio space located in her garden.
© Renee Couture