A white plaster body cast of a pregnant woman entombs her contrasting caramel face that lies motionless (asleep, alive, entranced?) against a white institutional wall. The Mother Mold process of casting pregnant people in domestic construction materials is revealed with sedimentary layers of wall plaster on gauze, on indigo silicone, on waxed skin. Mother Molds and Death Masks were plaster and wax molds of guillotined royalty used as a proto-photographic document to globalize democracy during the French Revolution. Today, these tourist attractions can be seen at Madame Taussaud’s wax museum alongside pop icons like pregnant Beyonce. A series of iconic rituals including mama spas and belly casts have developed as middle class maternity status symbols, but remain unrecognized by museums and “high” culture institutions. Using the same techniques and materials as the death masks, the recent “belly cast” vernacular sculpture technique (alongside the “maternity photo shoot”) is a procreative signal of craft agency and ceremonial motherhood.
The Fissured suite of photographs are a polyptych altarpiece (9 photographs) depicting the Mama Spa Botanica process where black and brown pregnant people cast their pregnant bodies in vernacular Mother Mold belly casts, in collaboration with the artist and their reproductive health allies. Medically described, a fissure is an anatomical cleft or tear often associated with trauma during pregnancy. Architecturally, a fissure is the texture most commonly applied to asbestos drop ceiling tiles found in institutional settings including hospitals- often the last image a black or brown mother will see before delivering her child, and the first image a baby sees at birth.
The Linea Negra series photographs (2008-present) documents the inception of gender, power and race structures from slogans, slang, maxims and "old wives tales" to internalized, institutional violence. The works celebrate the melanin line appearing during gestation (most prominent in women of color) as a biological pieta; the first biographical mark on the procreative body and the first sign of our creative humanity.