Sarah Irvin


Sarah Irvin (USA, Virginia)
Rocking Chair Series (2014/15)
Graphite on paper


My practice exists within the context of motherhood as a lived experience and social construct. By responding to the biological act of bearing an infant and the discipline of care-taking that is the commitment to “mother” a child, I seek to open up a dialogue about what it means to take on these responsibilities and how these actions shape the individual performing them.

The pieces are derived from the everyday, but the interface of materials and processes of art making with the everyday provides an entry point into broader topics of gender, production, reproduction, care, biological processes and cultural systems. Accompanying the objects and the time-based performances that created them are annotated prose poems that function as another descriptive system of the work.

In this series I use the act of caring for a baby as a form of mark-making. Pieces of graphite hung from the underside of our glider rocking chair and created marks on a piece of paper attached to the stationary base. I began this series when my daughter was born and completed it on her first birthday. Anyone who has used the chair has participated in the creation of the works, and the marks document every action of the chair during my daughter’s first year of life.

Sarah Irvin’s has recently completed her Master of Fine Arts (Painting) at George Mason University. She is a widely exhibited artist, a well-known speaker/lecturer on the wider subject of art and the maternal, and the founder of Artist Parent Index.