University of Tasmania
whole_PortlockKimLesley2011_thesis.pdf (5.68 MB)

Enfolding bodies : a visual investigation that refigures the relationship between maternity and form

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posted on 2023-05-27, 18:33 authored by Portlock, KL
This project investigates representations of the maternal body as an embodied subject. The ritualistic nature of the art making process and the use of repetition through form is significant to the development of this project and references the 'accumulated touch' central to acts of mothering. 1. The aim is to represent maternity through forms that emphasise its meaning and capacities and whereby the active process of labor, nurture and care are suggested. These are conceptualized as complementary and interrelated. Motifs have been employed that highlight the organic complexity of the body and, which take into account ideas about subjectivity. Through focus on personal experiences of pregnancy and motherhood I wish to affirm the bonds between mother and child and how I define myself through the unities, labor and associations within this significant relationship. 2. While the subject intertwines mothering with nature my argument does not describe an essentialist view of women. The aim, instead, is to highlight the 'unnaturalness' of entrenched cultural and social structures that present idealistic and sentimental representations of maternity and mothering. It offers an alternate view, one that speaks of the profound isolation and solitary nature of the experience. 3. The project is placed in context with the art practices and installation processes employed by contemporary artists as Kiki Smith, Louise Bourgeoise and Ann Hamilton, Luce lrigaray and Elizabeth Grosz. It references traditional and ritualistic art practices of Balinese women with particular emphasis on the craft of offerings and ceremonial ornaments. 4. The outcome of the research project is a group of sculptural works and assemblages that present an inclusive approach to the positioning of motherhood through interpretations of nature. The exegesis chronicles the practical, theoretical and conceptual inquiries placed in context through discussions of historical, literary and contemporary art practice.


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Copyright 2011 the author Thesis (MFA)--University of Tasmania, 2011. Includes bibliographical references

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