Domestic Mottoes


A series of sculptural installations in a domestic space, Park Avenue, St Ives, 2006 



Loaded Object bitumized pram, granite egg stones, and slate text.

The double word play on ‘load’ refers to the way mothers are loaded with responsibilities and stereotypical role play. Mothers are bearers, loaded with the responsibilities of the institution of motherhood, yet denied representation and Subjectivity.

Layers of bitumen paint on an old pram painted with bitumen is a metaphor for the categorization of mothers, who, tarred with the same stick, are categorised mothers as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and denied individuality. The heavy ovoid egg stones make the pram too heavy to push, it becomes a burdened, impractical object.

caged bird sings

The Caged Bird Sings, installation with sound, typewriter, text, kingfisher and cage, (2006).

One mother describes the experience of motherhood as feeling like ‘ a caged bird, sitting loyally singing on its perch’, (from Rosika Parker, Torn in Two: Maternal Ambivalence).

Here the bird is a kingfisher (not a domestic bird) used by Jung as a symbol for the process of making unconscious thought, conscious (just as kingfishers pull fish out of water). An old tape recorder plays the sounds of water, kingfisher cries and an old typewriter plodding on.

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

The hospital screen is a metaphor for the liminal moment of birth. Much feted, and under-represented, it is a private/public moment, shared here with a detailed personal description of giving birth for the first time. It is an event that is difficult to read, it is ambivalent, divided, and often dirided as ‘Other’.