Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident 2019
Mya Cluff completed her BFA in Craft at the Oregon College Art and Craft with a concentration in ceramics spring of 2017. She currently is a working studio artist in Belgrade, Montana where she lives with her husband and children. She works primarily in figurative sculpture exploring the complex nature and psychology of motherhood.
Motherhood is a multi-faceted experience. Through figurative ceramic sculpture and drawing, I attempt to bring equal attention to both the light and darker aspects of motherhood to show the importance of a well-rounded narrative to this universally recognized role. The ease of sentimentality that arises with the stereotypical ideals of mothers and babies is charming, but does not tell the whole story. And in my work, I aim to tell the whole story. Through depictions of the female form and mother, along with symbols such as the blanket, the pelvis, and the child or infant, I set up both familiar and slightly askew scenarios to challenge generalizations of motherhood. By examining the changes my children bring to my life, my work becomes loosely biographical. Though I also find richness in tapping into the stories and experiences of other mothers I find in literature, artwork, and in personal relationships. I take all those combined experiences to analyze the commonalities that mothers experience but do not always speak to openly. I employ comparisons of hard vs. soft and durable vs. fragile through the use of clay as my primary medium. I intentionally utilize the direct association of the body to the experience of motherhood by including the human figure, and embrace the vulnerabilities, raw emotions, and loosening of boundaries, both physical and emotional, that exponentially change women who take on this mantel. Through covering or wrapping various parts of the body I enhance my conversation concerning boundaries, and the contrasting elements of comfort and suppression. Overall, I elaborate on the taboo that while most mothers love their children more than anything else, they all also grapple with varied human emotions as patience and endurance is tested.