Re­flec­tions

American Art Collector - - Contents - CAROL MOTHNER

Carol Mothner’s fas­ci­na­tion with Madon­nas, ar­mor and flow­ers be­gan in her child­hood in Brook­lyn, New York. “I loved dolls when I was lit­tle,” she says. “My apart­ment build­ing was mostly Jewish, but my friend Bar­bara and her fam­ily was Catholic. She would in­vite me to go to church with her and there I saw the most beau­ti­ful Madon­nas— they were gor­geous dolls.”

Af­ter mov­ing to Santa Fe, New Mex­ico, she be­gan to ac­quire an­tique Span­ish Madon­nas, one of which is al­ways stand­ing in front of her when she paints in her stu­dio.

When she went to the Metropoli­tan Mu­seum of Art, she “al­ways went straight for the ar­mor room. The ar­mor had won­der­ful re­flec­tions and I’ve al­ways loved re­flec­tions. Even then,” she con­tin­ues, “I knew that lit­tle kids needed pro­tec­tion.”

Mothner says, “When I was old enough to walk that far I went to the Brook­lyn Botanic Gar­den. It was in­cred­i­ble and it com­forted me. When I was in my teens, I would sit for hours in the Ja­panese Gar­den and paint.”

Af­ter 9/11, she felt her Madonna needed pro­tec­tion. She wrote the names of the vic­tims on pieces of pa­per that she wrapped around the sculp­ture.

She be­gan to clothe her Madon­nas in ar­mor that she care­fully made while sit­ting with her hus­band,

artist Daniel Mor­per, be­fore his death from Alzheimer’s.

She wrote re­cently about the 2016 elec­tion: “‘Women’s rights are hu­man rights and hu­man rights are women’s rights’ was part of a speech by Hil­lary Clin­ton in 1995 in Bei­jing…In 2016 it wasn’t a woman’s right to be­come Pres­i­dent of the United States. This is what got me started on painting my Madon­nas in ar­mor at times with a sword, and at other times, I pulled her apart in anger.”

She says, “As I painted, I kept look­ing out at the gar­den. I feel joy in the gar­den, es­pe­cially when I plant a to­mato seed and later have a huge plant with de­li­cious to­ma­toes.” She knew she couldn’t con­tinue with the anger she ex­pressed in her ar­mored Madon­nas, so she re­turned to an ear­lier in­ter­est, painting the flow­ers in her gar­den.

Her lat­est paint­ings of Madon­nas and flow­ers will be shown at Santa Fe-based Nüart Gallery from Septem­ber 7 through 23.

1Botan­i­cal Mélange, acrylic, 5 x 5"2Ar­mor, Sword and Anger, acrylic, 16 x 16"3Things Fall Apart (Blue), egg tem­pera, 17 x 17"4Af­ter Hil­lary’s Loss, acrylic, 16 x 16"

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