Bodies and Babies

Motherhood, infertility, the body and children

by KARI ROBERTS-SACKMANN

Opening Reception: Friday, July 27, 5:30-8:30 pm

Gallery Discussion: Thursday, August 16, 7pm

@ BIHL HAUS ARTS, 2803 Fredericksburg Rd.

BODIES AND BABIES, images of motherhood, infertility, the body and children by painter KARI ROBERTS-SACKMANN, opens with a reception at Bihl Haus Arts on Friday, July 27, from 5:30-8:30 pm. The event, which is free and open to the public, is accompanied by wine and light appetizers.

RobertsSackmannKari_Expecting2_SMALL_2010Bodies and Babies consists of four groups of interrelated works. The first, a series of 20 small canvases hung together in a grid, represents the struggle many women go through to become pregnant. The waiting, hoping, false readings, and months, sometimes years of infertility punctuated by grueling fertility treatments. Another, a mixed-media piece, captures the physical pain of amniocentesis and other invasive procedures, and the psychological and emotional tolls they take. But finally . . . success! Four nude torsos–self-portraits—, luminous and swollen with pregnancy at different stages, dominate two walls of the gallery. These monumental works, celebrations of maternity, signify the mid-point of the dream of motherhood. They depict the quiet times, the private times a woman has with her own body, its belly distended and breasts engorged. Two paintings address the moments just before birth. One, a view down long, slender legs, thighs pressed, ankles crossed, is titled “Twenty Minutes.” The calm before the storm. The second, an altarpiece-like triptych, depicts splayed thighs, dug into by stiffened fingers that leave imprints on softened flesh, separated by a swollen belly, the final push. The last four paintings depict the outcome. Toddler heads, blown up larger than life, scream, cry, coo at the viewer, some literally through earphones and CD players that report noises recorded by the mother-artist/artist-mother. They speak to a mother’s love and tolerance, joy and frustration.

“Life is like birth… it’s sticky and smelly and bloody and filled with joy and pain,” writes painter Roberts-Sackmann, “It doesn’tRobertsSackmannKari_Intervention_Small roll out like a beautiful documentary but is committed to our memory, a slide show of our most earnest moments. I make my art in order to capture these moments. An effective image can take me back to that singular place in time where I can see, hear, taste and feel that experience. Powerful stuff. If my work can evoke a similar encounter for another viewer then that art becomes even more powerful.”

San Antonio based artist Kari Roberts-Sackmann received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006. Roberts-Sackmann has exhibited throughout Texas, including solo exhibitions at Studio 106B in the Blue Star Arts Complex (San Antonio) and the Adrian Falcon GalleryRobertsSackmannKari_Floppin_SMALL (Del Rio). Her group exhibitions have included 33 Collective Gallery (Chicago), Bihl Haus Arts (San Antonio), Laura Moore Fine Art Studios (McKinney, TX), Art Institute of San Antonio (San Antonio), and Rockport Center for the Arts (Rockport, TX). In 2010, Roberts-Sackmann was chosen as a finalist in the Hunting Art Prize (Houston, TX) and is an active member of the Gentileschi Aegis Gallery Association. In addition to her role as an artist, Roberts-Sackmann is a wife, mother to her four-year old son and two year old daughter, and works as a Registered Nurse in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

In the wake of the ‘war on women’ and in response to recent proposed legislation that will limit women’s access to healthcare, Roberta Krueger, MD, an OB/GYN doctor, and Mara Posada of Planned Parenthood will talk about “Women’s Health/Women’s Bodies” on Thursday, August 16, at 7 pm.