The Monstrous-Feminine 2022

All my work could be considered explicit as it contains, nudity, birth imagery and bodily functions. I however, consider it to be wholesome, humorous and suitable for children.

Multi-species interconnectedness, biophilia and feminine intuition come together in an ever-expanding field of film, sound, sculpture and painting. The multi-media installation is woven together with biomorphic tentacles of salvaged waste and borrowed earth materials.

The work is produced through a cyclical, organic, multi-disciplinary creative process whereby 2D and 3D installation, performance and film generate characters, scenarios and microcosms.

I challenge our cultural de-animalisation and particularly the institution-controlled birth portrayal dominant in our onscreen culture while celebrating the 90% non-human part of us, our microbiome, formed at birth. In my short films, I play a hairy, animal-woman, celebrating good bacteria and its sources, who, though ridiculous, also embodies a deep melancholic longing for female body autonomy and a more sympathetic connection between the human and non-human. 

I have created a vivid, chaotic, utopian world where the visceral, intuitive beast-woman and her effluvia are raised up, thrust up, into the censored, phobic, Apollonian realm. She is put in a position of worship, like Baubo, the Vulvanic Goddess of Obsenity or an ancient Sheela-Na-Gig. Orgasmic and seeping, she defies our flush-away, sterile, medicated, anthropocentric lifestyles and honours our excretions as rich earth contributions processed by the busy agents of decomposition or Chthonic Ones.

Dry Toilet – Wet Women

Installation – Hand painted ceramic, plaster and textiles (with wood, chicken wire and waste plastic).

Fully functioning ceramic, separation compost toilet which celebrates reanimalisation, bacterial biodiversity and simultaneously challenges our flush-away, sterile, anthropocentric lifestyles. The design and handcrafted beauty of this dry earth toilet makes us fully responsible for our excretions, puts us in close contact with the separated materials and allows us to honour them as rich soil contributions instead of greenhouse gas producing waste. 

The protrusions at each side of the toilet burst with life. At one end a partially subsumed, reclining woman, has an array of symbolic, ceremonial-looking objects around her groin. Coloured roots or veins connect her and the whole sculpture to the ground. There is a short performance to camera installed inside the toilet in which I play the scientific curiosity of an animal-woman in captivity, obsessed with her own good bacteria. See this below:

The Monstrous Feminine

I propose a world where instead of portraying woman as a passive victim of the reproductive process, she is in control and worshipped as a powerful goddess, a ‘Holobiont’, who monthly produces an environment capable of growing a new human and is a permanent host to trillions of other beings. She is the intuitive, deviant beast-woman but here she is uncensored, and her body is a portal to a visceral world which we must strain our necks to see. It is painful to look in the portal unless we become vulnerable and lie on our backs, only from this subversion of the passive position can we experience the magic inside.

The film in the portal ‘Orgasmic Birth’ viewed through her vulva, celebrates the taboo pleasures, intimacies and power of birth so lacking in our mainstream visual media. With some humour and melancholic undertones, the film explores active birth positions, censored imagery, and blurs the lines between pain and pleasure.

(Film credits to @restore_midwifery, @parteramidwifery, @badassmotherbirther, @threestringmom, @birthofamama, @doulajennysilva for some video clips. Image credit for use of ‘Terese Crowning – An Image of Ecstatic Birth’ to the Birth Rites Collection and Hermione Wiltshire (originally from Ina May Gaskin’s, ‘Guide to Childbirth’, 2003). Thanks to Barbara Creed for the title, ‘The Monstrous Feminine’ and special thanks to Laurie McInally and Guendalina Rota for reenacting their birthing positions so beautifully with me, on film).

Watch the film below: (WARNING – contains real footage of childbirth)

Pussy and the Beasts

Wall collage – Oil on canvas, oil on board, painted and glazed ceramics and watercolour on paper and the wall.

An orgy of happy, effluvia-rich, multi-species, symbiosis.

Beasts & The Pussy Theatre

Two short digital films – In some cultures, women are still excluded from family and community while menstruating and here in the west, we recoil from all our potent, bacterial-rich bodily seepages. Multi-species interconnectedness, biophilia, good bacteria and feminine intuition come together in this digital merging of painting and sculpture. I create vivid worlds teeming with all life, where the lines are blurred between human and non-human, flora and effluvia, art and reality.

Swamp Mother (and Ecstatic Birth)

Installation – Acrylic on canvas, watercolor on paper, satin ribbon, hand painted textile and ceramics.

Getting Down (Chthonic Ones)

Hand painted canvas cushions, stuffed with waste plastic.

These slug-like beanbags are for sitting on or lying on, to enable comfortable (or uncomfortable) viewing of the films, while enabling the viewer to contemplate the role of an agent of decomposition and feel part of beneficial earth processes. The one under The Monstrous-Feminine is also a subversion of positions for the cultural tradition of observing women giving birth on their backs. 

Effluvia (Celebration of Bacteria Costume)

Silk, mixed fabrics and pipe cleaners.

A costume from my films.