Lucas, 2001, depicts the head of Marc Quinn’s newborn son, formed from his own placenta. The work focuses on the notion of emergence, both the subjects identity and physical shape, which is being formed each day since birth. To make the work, Quinn uses his sons placenta to sculpt the work, it represents the meeting point and link between mother and baby. Using the placenta this way, it represents the moment of separation from the mother’s body and the idea of the child emerging/ becoming himself.
I have been thinking about my subject work and how I can show I am myself, however I am proud to be so close to my mother and grand mother. This work shows placenta, created by the mother’s body. But represents the son finding himself coming into the world. This was my concern when creating my work, I wanted to have an identity but still have strong links to my maternal figures.
I recently visited G39 gallery. The exhibitions that are on are Sightseers and The Rejoinders.
I didn’t really understand the exhibitions as they were very random, I thought.
I tried my best to get an understanding.
The group of people who invalidated the Wales in Venice exhibition are the ones who are presenting work at G39. The show questions the conventions of a group exhibition. The works interact with each other, rather than stand on their own.
Some photographs from Sightseers exhibition.
The Rejoinders is an investigative, experimental curatorial project with a dual aspect research group at its heart.
Maman is large steel spider, it is so large it can only be installed out-of-doors, or inside if the building is of industrial scale. It is supported on eight legs, and the body is suspended high above the ground. It allows the viewer to walk underneath and around the spider. The spider has a mesh sac, containing seventeen white and grey marble eggs that hang above the viewer’s head. The title Maman translates as ‘Mummy’, the term a child uses for its mother.
“The friend (the spider – why the spider?) because my best friend was my mother and she was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat, and as useful as a spider. She could also defend herself, and me, by refusing to answer ‘stupid’, inquisitive, embarrassing, personal questions.” ~ Louise Bourgeois speaking about Maman in ‘Ode to My Mother‘.
Louise Bourgeois describes her mother in the text above, and how the spider connects to her mother. The spider is a maternal figure, the artist’s mother. I find it interesting how she uses a creature that you would associate with fear, or disgust. I would never associate a spider with my mother but when the initial thoughts of terror are taken away, I think it is very clever that Bourgeois uses a spider to represent her mother as she looks at the way a spider protects. She also looks at what you would not think a spider to be, such as a ‘best friend’ and ‘soothing’.
I am hoping to do the same with my artwork. I want to make objects that aren’t clearly linked to a mother and child. I want to think outside the box with my subject artwork and step out of my comfort zone of making very literal artwork. Louise Bourgeois inspires this.
The art work in Who Decides? has been selected from the large collection of paintings, sculptures, films, prints and drawings that the Museum and the Derek Williams Trust have acquired over the last 10 years.
Who Decides? is curated by the service users from The Wallich, a charity supporting people who have experienced homelessness in Wales. The art work in Who Decides? has been selected from the large collection of paintings, sculptures, films, prints and drawings that the Museum and the Derek Williams Trust have acquired over the last 10 years. I was interested in this exhibition as last year for my final piece I focused on homelessness.
I liked the piece above, called ‘Last Punch of the Clock‘, 2009, by David Garner. It is a time recording piece. There are time sheets, 1000’s of time sheets, to show a shift. I think this is a good way to record time.
The other piece I was drawn to was by Anthony Stokes.
He captures buildings from around the South Wales valleys. I connected to this piece because I’m from a little village in South Wales and these are the typical sights I see daily. It made me feel calm and at home.
I also found it useful that the information by the artwork had a small paragraph written by the Curators of the exhibition, which made me think and look at the artwork in different ways.
Frida Kahlo features pain and suffering in most of Kahlo’s paintings, in ‘The Broken Column’, 1944, Kahlo shows her suffering in a straightforward way, by painting nails stuck in her face and body, her torso split in half looks like her body has been affected by an earthquake. When she first made the painting, she left herself naked. Later, she added the sheet which suggests a hospital sheet. The column inside Kahlo’s body is put in place of her spine, it looks like it is on the verge of collapsing, which further suggests an earthquake.
In the painting, Kahlo looks strong, she stares out to the audience with tears on her face, which implies she is challenging both herself and the viewer to face her situation.
I wanted to get an understanding of how to show back pain, as that’s what is wrong with my mother. The crack down the body has inspired me to put a ‘crack’ down the jug I will make for my final piece for subject. Kahlo has the corset which is holding her body together. If I use thread I could stitch the crack together to keep the crack together, this could suggest my support to my mother since she has become ill.
I have been influenced by Maria Bartuszova’s, ‘Untitled’, 1973. Bartuszova’s work has maternal associations, this has inspired me to explore the relationship I have with my mother. I have made artwork in response to Bartuszova’s, ‘Untitled’. I have been mark making from the observations of the artwork and making mono prints, the mark making symbolises myself and my mother. It is common for me to turn to acrylic paints in my work, however, making this artwork has encouraged me to try different mediums, such as working with clay, sewing machines and screen printing. I feel my work has come a long way since the beginning of Second year, I feel so much more connected to my artwork I am creating. My project tries to capture what my mother means to me and the experiences we share together.
LaToya Ruby Frazier hides behind her mother in this photograph, like a shadow. The work is part of a series and brings attention to marginalised individuals and communities such as her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. When speaking about this portrait, Frazier said, “We made a portrait of our bodies overlapping as one, unified in sickness, death, and our struggle to survive. The light cast a shadow that for me foreshadows the loss of Grandma Ruby; she passed away six months later from pancreatic cancer“. Frazier’s mother is affected by cancer, her grandmother passed away from cancer and Frazier has lupus. The three generations of Frazier women are affected by illnesses related to Braddock’s industrial past. LaToya Ruby Frazier said, “On the micro-level, we are three women from an abandoned community, but on the macro-level, I see us as a symbolic state of oppression and neglect”.
The photograph of LaToya Ruby Frazier and her mother seemed very dramatic to me but showed me how a contemporary artist uses her mother as the subject of work. I can relate to this piece of art as my mother is very ill at the moment with chronic pain in her body above her waist. Her mother stares out at the viewer, capturing her pain.
Another image from the ‘Momme Portrait series, 2008’ is shown below.