Nov 16th 2019

Tracy Marie Taylor: While I was Away

@ Roman Susan

1224 W Loyola Ave, Chicago, IL 60626

Opening Saturday, November 16th, from 6PM - 9PM

On view through Friday, December 6th

Hours: Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays 4-7 [note: no open hours Thursday, November 28]

My work visualizes the complexities of my identity as artist-mother.

In two connected projects, I thematically and practically explore the relationship between mother and child, nature and technology. This exhibition traces the 572 hours I spent tethered to a breast pump during my son’s first year of life, and unpacks the competing emotions and tensions the experience entailed. When natural breastfeeding failed me, the pump allowed me to sustain new life, yet pumping also created a physical and emotional barrier between me and my baby.

The quilt precisely visualizes data collected from twelve months of exclusive breast pumping. The delicately hued discs reflect the view of the sky from outside my window. While the sun rises and falls, daylight shifts from blue to grey and back again as the seasons change. Created with the aid of computer programming, computer assisted sewing and outsourced manual labor, the quilt is a metaphor for time, the undervalued, often invisible labor of motherhood, and the distance created by technology.

The sculptural form is shaped from recordings of my son’s cries. I turn his pleas into three-dimensional visual waveforms, which I carve using a Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) router. The peaks and valleys loop back on each other and are the visual notes of those sleepless nights and delirious days when I was attached to a machine and therefore unable to hold and provide comfort to my newborn son.

Together these projects give shape to bodily and artistic tensions.

–Tracy Marie Taylor

Taylor earned an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BFA from The University of New Mexico. She is an Associate Professor at Lake Forest College. Past solo and two-person exhibitions include: Art Gallery at The University of Colorado, Boulder; The Contemporary Art Workshop, Chicago; Fraction Workspace, Chicago; Gallery 2, Chicago; Gosia Koscielak Gallery, Chicago; John Sommers Gallery, Albuquerque; ILK Gallery, Denver; Pirate Gallery, Denver; The Mission Projects, Chicago; and Sonnenschein Gallery, Lake Forest. For additional information, please visit

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Preview image courtesy of Tracy Marie Taylor

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