‘MOTHER IS A DRUM’ – Reflections on womanhood from a mother

MOTHER IS A DRUM is a solo exhibition by Grace Cross at SMITH Studios. The show deals with the birth of the artist’s child and the solemn epiphanies of motherhood. Making use of symbols in her paintings, the viewer is confronted with images of famished mouths, a woman with breast pumps–reminding one quite starkly of the image of Rachel McAdams on the cover of Girls. Girls. Girls magazine­–as well as images of mushed up food and leaking breasts. Her paintings leave traces of ambiguity containing odd comparisons and uncomfortable smiles. Every object presented within the frame of the canvas are given the status of a talisman. Such objects include a spoon, a toy and a showerhead. By granting them this talismanlike stature the objects become injected with ritualistic power and carry what Lucienne Bestall refers to as “psychic weight”. The symbols Cross works with are given life through the associations that are connected to them. As Bestall notes, “For Cross, the inanimate animates even while it keeps its stillness; it produces effects, it inspires engagement.”

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