AboutâMary's work is both a study of loss and an examination of the nature and quality of remembrance. What distinguishes âHush Don't Tell', however, is not any attempt to date, situate, or tie a past history to a present one; it is not in this sense a narrative. Instead, concealing and revealing, closing and disclosing at one and the same time, the boxes figure the uncanny force of memory'.
ARTIST'S STATEMENT: This exhibition is a story. I make no apologies for this. When, as a teenage girl in the middle of my art studies, I gave birth to my first son in 1963, it was a serious social stigma to be illegitimate. Consequently, bending to the pressures of the day, I gave up my child for adoption when he was ten days old. I was told to go away and live my life, to forget it.
In the mid 1980s, as my children began leaving home I started to examine that early experience. The loss of my first child had weighed heavily on me throughout my adult life. In the ten days I had shared with my first son I had drawn him: a handful of small pencil drawings. In 1986 I went back to college as a mature student to do a Fine Arts degree and after graduation I started to weave veiled hints of this experience into my artwork, a process of âhiding and revealing'. One work made more explicit reference: Dreams, Oracles, Iconsâ¦ made in 1991. This piece entered the New Hall Art Women's Collection in 1992.
In September 2007 a message appeared in my Hotmail junk box, titled âFamily Tree'. I almost deleted it but on impulse opened it instead. I knew at once who it was: my son, looking for me. He had found me through the New Hall Art Collection. Having typed my name into his computer he had come up with some art websites. On the New Hall one he found the work, Dreams, Oracles, Iconsâ¦ recognised that it was about him and emailed the address on the page. A flurry of emails followed, photographs and life stories were exchanged. A fortnight later we met.
The drawings I made of my son as an infant, together with drawings from photographs of him as a child and a young man, and drawings of the man he is now, have become the stimulus for a whole new body of works. The only way I could know the child I lost was through drawing him. In three-dimensional formats I explore similarities and differences between his face and my own, interweaving these with fragments of text. These âmemory boxes' form the substance of this exhibition, which also includes an audio-visual piece made in collaboration with my son.
Mary Husted 2010