last night

This morning, I have to admit, was a bit of a letdown. My youngest woke me up, as usual, although at least this morning he didn’t do it by yelling “WAKE UP!” over and over again in my ear. He just slithered out of bed and I heard him putting his little toilet seat in the toilet. A few minutes later he came back into my room; “My pants are wet.” He’d missed.

Well, that is how it goes for most artist-parents I imagine. You have an incredible evening with all kinds of friends coming out to see your years-long project come to fruition; they tolerate your three-year-old running amok through the whole gallery; strangers tell you all manner of kind things about your work. You drink one glass of wine too many and the evening screams by and next thing you know you’re home with a headache and your children are as loud as they ever were.

Maybe it’s because we homeschool, maybe it’s because my youngest is still so young and his health is a challenge. But there is a serious shortage of solitude in my life, has been for a long time, and for a while there, I thought maybe I would never make art again. But I had to finish the show, and I did.

This is probably not something people say publicly, but it was seriously amazing to see my work fill three rooms. One of the things Alec Soth said in my workshop was to start visualizing the end result of your project as early as possible. I knew I wanted an exhibition and a book, eventually. And the gallery walls I envisioned the work on was the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre. It’s so amazing that it’s up there now, nearly five years from when I started dreaming.

I’ve known for a long time that I use my camera to meet people I wouldn’t otherwise meet, to expand my community. Parenting young kids can feel pretty isolating. Especially when you’re  trying to pursue a personal project like this for no logical reason, on top of all the other obligations of family life. What I didn’t realize, and what I discovered last night, is that showing my photographs also widens my community. So many friends from so many different realms of my life came out last night, and I realized I have a lot more community than I thought. It was amazing.

It was such a whirlwind of a night that I didn’t take any pictures, except one of my kids, after the speeches and after most people had cleared out, in Kelly Richardson’s exhibition downstairs. I’ll have to go back so I can truly take in the other exhibitions, and of course for installation shots. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this.

Thank you so much to everyone who came out. And to everyone at the gallery for making it possible and for doing such a great job hanging my show and putting all the materials together and for giving me free drink tickets!

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