Lenka Clayton uses the stuff of her life— specifically her life as a mother—as material for her art. So committed is she to this approach that she created a grant-funded “Artist Residency in Motherhood,” for herself, mirroring the terminology of programs that exist throughout the world to afford artists the time and space to make their work. Her project acknowledges and addresses the interruption usually caused when artists become parents.
In The Distance I Can Be from My Son, Clayton records her then-18-month-old son Otto as he toddles away from her—down a grocery store aisle or a rolling meadow. Tension mounts as he begins to move out of view, and the artist/ mother bolts from behind the camera to retrieve him—the screen then registering the distance between them at her “breaking point.” A sculptural installation, 63 Objects Taken Out of My Son’s Mouth, documents the heightened vigilance of early parenthood, when any and all small objects that once seemed innocuous become potentially tragic if ingested by a child.