Prolific artist Miriam Schaer’s exhibition “Baby (Not) on Board: The Last Prejudice?” opens on October 7 and runs through November 22 at the Western Wyoming Community College Art Gallery, in Rock Springs, WY. The exhibition addresses the question of why the existence of women who choose maternal independence over child-rearing angers or offends so many people and institutions. The works are comprised of dynamic photographs of the artist surrounded by baby dolls adorned in clothes that are embroidered with many of the disparaging sentiments that have been expressed to Schaer and the women she interviewed for this project, women who have suffered reproach from friends, family and strangers for their decision not to bear or raise children. Phrases include, “Childless women lack an essential humanity,” “You are not a real parent if you only have one child,” and “Children are what make a real family.”
photo by Stephen DeSantis
“In the course of my research I have spoken with many women, both in formal interviews and casual conversations,” Schaer explains. “Often I chatted with women while working on the embroidery pieces, which are very portable, as I commuted to and from my teaching position at Columbia College Chicago. The responses I got were very strong. Many women, often those with children, shared with me their own stories about having felt trapped or seduced by the myth of ‘having it all.’ Others told me about the pressures they experienced to have children before they had children, from family members and others in their communities.”
For more information about artist Miriam Schaer and “Babies (Not) on Board,” go to http://miriamschaer.com/babies-not-on-board/. Schaer invites feedback from all perspectives on her exhibit as she continues to pursue this line of artistic inquiry.
Schaer will visit WWCC on Nov. 7-9 to conduct an Artist Book workshop.