Becoming: The Stories We Tell
For the past two decades, my studio practice has concentrated on a body of work titled ‘Busy Woman’, which began as an exploration into self- identity yet evolved over time into a playful social commentary, documenting a contemporary woman’s attempt to come to terms with typical female roles.
My paintings are constructed slowly and deliberately by building layer upon layer of vibrant acrylic colour. This way of working, always adding incrementally, is a very female way of working and identifies closely with other forms of women’s cultural production such as rug hooking and weaving.
This series of work, ‘Becoming’, was originally inspired by my grandmother, and involves both painting and rug-hooking. This body of work is a testament to the powerful force that exists between generations of women and draws from my own life as I navigate the complexity of having daughters ready to leave home, the grief encountered after the passing of my beloved grandmother, and the deep sadness surrounding my mother’s descent into Alzheimer’s, and her recent passing.
‘Becoming’ speaks to both personal and cultural experience. French philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir, stated that “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” My work aims to explore phases of womanhood, incorporating time-honoured rug hooking techniques with contemporary imagery, offering a modern interpretation through a traditional method of women’s cultural production. The works are displayed in a grid formation to suggest a story quilt, or the telling of a life story.
Rooted in Pop-art, with a feminist twist, the interplay of imagery between the paintings and the hooked rugs, results in a positive affirmation and portrayal of love and resilience.
‘Becoming’ was first shown at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in 2018 and Sunbury Shores Arts & Nature Centre in 2019. ‘Becoming: The Stories We Tell’ references the new works that have been added for this third showing at the Saint John Arts Centre in 2021.