Domestic Mottoes


Loaded Object

Installation works about the maternal 2006-8

In Loaded Object the pram is the bearer of meaning. Its evident age and the layers of bitumen refer to its museumification, and categorization. Society categorises mothers as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, they are tarred with the same stick, denied individuality and Subjectivity. They are bearers, loaded with the responsibilities of the institution of motherhood, yet denied representation beyond the stereotypical.

The text scratched onto the slate defines ‘load’ and ‘laden’, the Cornish egg stones weigh down metaphorically, metaphysically and literally. Playing with language, visual representation and symbol in art opens up possibilities of changing cultural stigmatisation, categorisation and Otherness.

caged bird sings

Caged Bird Sings, installation with text, typewriter, kingfisher and cage, 2006

‘I felt like a caged bird, sitting loyally singing on its perch’.

This is how one depressed mother describes her experiences of motherhood (from Rosika Parker’s book, on the ambivalence and contradictions of motherhood).

 The kingfisher (not a domestic bird) used a symbol of peace and love in some cultures, is also used by Jung as a symbol of seeking to make unconscious thought conscious (just as the bird pulls the fish out of the water). The Jungian kingfisher eats the tangled web of words emitting from the caged typewriter, just as the mother Archetype consciously, and unconscious sings her thoughts and feelings. A tape recorder plays sounds of water, kingfisher and a typewriter plodding on.

add + divideAdd & Divide, found object (old hospital screen, 3.5m x 2.5m), latex, bitumen, muslin, text.

This screen textually deals with the difficult subject of childbirth. The text used is a detailed description of giving birth for the first time. It is a liminal moment for mother and child, often much feted, usually stereotyped. It is an event that is difficult to ‘read’, ambivalent and divided, just as the female body is divided, separated and named as ‘Other’.