Friday, December 19, 2014

Lost in Living: Review and Online Streaming

We're pleased to present part one of a two-part series featuring filmmaker Mary Trunk's documentary “Lost in Living,” which can be streamed online free of charge through December 25th, 2014 at Trunk does a remarkable job capturing the joy, exhaustion, and the many conflicts that arise as a result of being both mother and artist.  Don’t miss this opportunity to view an important film that accurately portrays many of the issues mother/artists deal with on a daily basis.

 by Christina LaMaster

Mary Trunk’s feature length documentary, Lost in Living, deals with the emotional and practical tensions which arise when artists become mothers. Trunk films and interviews four artists over the course of seven years. Two of them are young artists: Caren McCaleb, a painter and video editor, and Kristina Robbins, a filmmaker. These two women are close friends and experience pregnancy and the birth of their first children at about the same time. We are allowed to see first hand the impact rearing babies and toddlers has on their lives as mother/artists. The other two women featured are writer Merrill Joan Gerber and visual artist Marjorie Schlossman, both of whom have adult children and who reflect upon the impact of their young and growing families on their careers as artists. These reflections are more dramatic when some of their grown children speak of their childhoods, and recall some of the difficulties of being the child of a mother/artist.

What is so impactful in this film are the ambiguities expressed by these mother/artists—the need to be creative contrasted with the often mundane activities of child-rearing and house work; the feelings sometimes amounting to desperation when they speak about the interruption of their artistic careers and the difficulty of getting back on track; the cavalier dismissal by many in the art world of the value of motherhood; and the regret expressed especially by the older artists at the feeling that they neglected their children for the sake of their art.

Trunk’s own struggle with both motherhood and filmmaking inspired her to make the film, and her objective/observational role as a documentarian allows each woman’s journey to be understood. Lost in Living, does not make a case for choosing between motherhood and art.  Trunk does, however, with both hard-eyed realism and immense sympathy, show us how difficult it is to manage both. In this film mother/artists will see themselves and their struggles laid out before them and perhaps feel a little less alone, a little more recognized for their efforts. This documentary is a must-see for all artists, women, and mothers who may consider themselves “lost” in living.

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Christina LaMaster is a photographer, installation and video artist.  A fifth-generation Nebraskan, she has spent most of her life in the Midwest, teaching and holding various program and administrative positions at museums and community arts centers.  She now calls Central Illinois home, and recently earned her MA in Studio Art from Bradley University.  She is particularly interested in women’s issues, motherhood and the idea of the “maternal gaze.”  Chrissy is the mother of two college-aged children, and has spent the last 20 years attempting to find a balance between motherhood and art.   

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