Beck Odum Casez, Women of Questionable Morals, cotton fabric and thread, 2019
I reached a pivotal moment in my work a year ago when I became pregnant with my first child. My passage into motherhood was difficult and, at times, traumatizing, and has altered the role that art plays in my life. I now use my work to communicate new awareness of the physical, psychological, and cultural battles of motherhood and the ways in which those battles are contextualized in a relentlessly sexist society. Women of Questionable Morals is an embrace of the aspects of my identity that I lost and built
anew in myself after birth. With unapologetic nudity, body adornment, and taboo behavior, this piece is a rejection of the idea that women should bury parts of themselves under the guise of being a respectable wife and mother.
Like all of my work, this piece is entirely sewn, quilted, and embroidered by hand. The laborious and meditiave process is integral to the work as it serves as a connection to my female ancestors who engaged in the same craft. Embroidering tattoos is a particularly visceral experience. As I repeatedly insert my needle into metaphorical flesh, I can’t help but think of my own cesarean, as if the wound of my birth never fully closed and I’m continually sewing myself back up again. Ultimately, my creative process is an exercise of catharsis and communion with my fellow women and mothers.
Beck Odum Casez was born and raised in Huntsville, AL and now resides in
Douglasville, GA. Having spent very little time outside of the South, for better or worse, southern American culture is woven inextricably throughout her life and her work. She earned her BFA in Studio Art in 2018 from Auburn University where she concentrated in Ceramics. She spent much of her time at school exploring fiber arts through self-study, and upon graduation, she abandoned ceramics altogether to focus almost exclusively on textiles. Beck uses her work not only to explore social and political issues, but also to navigate her own emotions and cope with mental illness.