Susan Krueger-Barber‘s series Postpartum Provocation is an interesting analysis of a little understood phase of life. She recently returned to Utah after studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She explains Postpartum Provocation: “While pregnant, a new person grows inside of us, and we ourselves metamorphose into new people; creatures full of fresh, intense feelings previously unimagined–mother bears with acute alertness, full of fierce protectiveness for our child, facing the enormity of every decision. Nature pulses through us, buzzing as the transfiguration takes place. We run with awkwardness while our body reshapes itself as though trudging through a shallow pool. Our lives become dreamlike, full of penetrating hyper-realism. We literally transform while we navigate our brain-shrinking, breast-leaking protectiveness. Motherhood is a delicate shift in our existence as we learn to embrace our new baby and our new body while reconstructing ourselves to be stronger, more complex women.”
Tell us a little about yourself. I am a community organizer, mother, and artist, and I also love collaborating with my husband and best friend. I enjoy creating different takes of an accepted narrative. To reveal the truth through the cracks
Describe your creative process. An image phrase or thought comes into my head in the form of a flash, a phrase, or a laugh. I often try to solve something. I am on a constant journey of following an idea to as many possibilities and solutions that I can think of and then when I get bored, I move on to another project and/or journey.
What has been the reaction to Postpartum Provocation? I think that there isn’t very much art about motherhood that exposes the nitty gritty and complicated aspects of the experience. Most art places it on a nostalgic pedestal. When I gave birth, I felt so lost. There were all kinds of books preparing me for the birth process, but not much information around to describe the postnatal experience. I think Postpartum Provocation helps fill the gap. Many women and men have thanked me, nodded, laughed, and sometimes cried when seeing that work. I think it helps normalize the actual experience that so many of us are having.