2022 : Beauty in Decay | Motherhood Vanitas

ARTISTS STATEMENT

Modern Motherhood Vanitas is a reflection on the transient nature of life and the fleeting moments of early motherhood.

Motherhood can bring an awareness of our own mortality, now a life other than our own depends on it. It also has a way of distorting our experience of time.

Typically, Vanitas paintings depicted wealth and ultimately its futility, as it can not be taken with us in death.

In an attempt to halt time and preserve the priceless moments that we can not hold on to, I load the image with symbolism to represent both the iconic memories of motherhood whilst also honouring the challenging times that we experience alongside it.

The white scene represents the absence of colour and the sum of all colours, thus depicting the contradictions of motherhood. It represents both birth and death, as well as the rites of passage and initiation.

It is the idea of life cycles, transformation and rebirth that led on to the work you will also see alongside the Vanitas images, which reflects on the beauty of letting go.

Letting go of what came before in order to usher in what has yet to grow.

AFTER

BEFORE

NOTES

We sometimes choose to whitewash the idea of motherhood and pretend as though only the positive aspects exist. In this work I seek to honour both the joyful and the difficult.

Freshly picked daisies, bubbles and balloons all symbolise that which can't last but bring so much joy in the present moment.

Milk teeth, babies breath and spilt milk, along with broken eggs are just some of the symbols to represent the experiences of early motherhood.

Symbolism

WHITE – the absence of all colour OR sum of all colour (contradictions of motherhood) – represents both birth and death, rites of passage and initiation.

Also whitewashing something to pretend it didn’t exist – as we do with the negative aspects of motherhood.

Time: Sand Timer, Candles, Dandelion Seeds, Bubbles
Stuffed Toy: ripped and being mended, childhood, maternal repair.
Needle & Thread – To find harmony or strike a balance between conflicting forces, and interests. 
Needles – They sew, stitch, attach, mend, and create. 

They are strong (some are even unbending) and in the right hands, they are a tool that can mend the tapestry of mind, emotion, body and life.
Balloon: letting go, childhood
Bubbles: time passing, childhood
Dandelion Seed Flowers: time passing, childhood, childhood offerings.
Eggs: Fertility and Creation. Source of Life. A universal symbol of promise and potential.

Broken egg shells – easily hurt/sensitive or broken eggs represent unfulfilled potential and disappointment.
Empty shells: have been used up to their potential. They have been transformed into delicious! Empty, used egg shells are symbols of transformation, and potential fulfilled.

They are a reminder to use all your resources to the best of your ability!
Challice with spilt milk: Challice symbol of the womb. Milk reminder of breastfeeding. The saying "There’s no point in crying over spilt milk.'
Baby’s Breath Flowers: everlasting love, new babies & innocence
Scales: Judgement.
Vase of Daisies: Childhood Offering
Candles: Time: one burnt down more than the other
Bread: Nourishment/spiritual nourishment
Cotton wool: wrapping them in cotton wool
Milk Teeth: – time passing, loss of innocence, development.
Paracetamol: Pain of motherhood
Queen Chess Piece: Toppled over (most powerful piece on the board, but fragile and knocked off her game)
White birthday cake with candles – celebration and passing of time
Knife: betrayal, deception, martyrdom

RECENT WORK

Using collage and mixed media to reflect on identity.

Looking at how we curate the image of ourselves that we present to the world.

This work considers our ever shifting idenitities & how our external world alters and shapes who we become.

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