unperceived existence unperceived existence Issue 1: Madison Omahne - Page 27

Curators Note

mother/infant is an exhibition about process and authorship, control and intent. The materials are happened on by chance, chosen from what is already in the artist’s studio. The artist relinquishes control and her sons are left to determine the shapes and construction. The process that goes into creating the two final artworks and the subsequent exhibition mirrors the artist’s experience of pregnancy, early birth and having to hand over the care of her baby to others during those long weeks in hospital.

The two artworks I am presented with are both hollow but sealed fabric forms; soft and ambiguous in their shape, their softness emphasised by shades of pink, in fabric and thread. These forms, not unlike like deflated wombs - empty but with potential, have no determinable top or bottom, front or back. The fabric creates soft folds while the stitching creates hard peaks and points.

As curator my only instructions on how to display the resulting work came in two separate sentences – the first was officially presented to me: that it was solely down to the curator to decide how the work was to be reconstructed, displayed, and viewed. The second unintentionally came from an off-hand remark from the artist about how her sons had decided that the work must be sent to me without any stuffing inside; so that ‘the materials should be presented in their full integrity of themselves’. In practice this meant that the two works arrived hollow but sealed, negating the need to be reconstructed.

The resulting exhibition places its focus on material integrity and cuts down to a bare minimum any props or devices. Plinths are kept simple and other display items previously selected are discarded as too narrative. In an unintentional parallel the curator is the same number of weeks pregnant, also with her second child, during the week of the mother/infant exhibition as the artist was when she gave birth. This accidental mirroring runs through the exhibition as a gentle, silent undertone.

Laura Bradshaw-Heap

August 2018