Pregnant is a literal attempt to understand the world from my new physical perspective. It was conceived when I was indeed, pregnant, in an attempt to capture a different way of seeing the world. The transformation of my own body significantly affected the way I was experiencing the world. Not only did I have to renegotiate my perception of myself, but also the way I physically interacted with the world. Once a day I would look at myself in the mirror and begin to associate my growing belly and the anticipatory notion of birth with fast-changing ideas of places and people. I developed an acrylic mirror sculpture in the form of a belly. My intention with the mirror-belly I created is to position it in various environments that capture the uncertainty of the situation, similar to how I felt during my pregnancy. The mirror is a material support which, when one peers into the convex reflective surface, has a dual function. It reflects something different and unknown yet it also (because of the wide angle) captures and includes more than is normally visible. Things are represented but are not indexical and certain. The convex mirror changes one’s perception of the space.
In my exhibition the belly became synonymous with the idea of distortion and the notion of an alternate way of seeing. One belly multiplied into an installation of bellies as the experience of being pregnant was almost parasitic in that the curious bloated feeling became more and more pronounced and overwhelming as the months progressed. The belly was originally developed as a strategy to capture through paint my experience of being pregnant. However, in the exhibition the mirrors are displayed in their original forms as part of an installation, and not as the potential paintings they were intended to be. They exist in my exhibition as artefacts, reflecting the movement around them and in this way become a quietly interactive sculpture. The mirror installation perpetuates the gallery space and the participants at the exhibition as uncertain entities that are reflecting my own insecurities in the moment. I am often concerned with how I personally experience the world, and even though the gallery space is a place I frequent and adopt as an artist, it remains a controversial space, as it is a more controlled experience of the world. The dancer in me understands the need for a defined space, but the gallery is different from the theatre stage; the same internal conflict of where my particular expression should be demonstrated becomes an important challenge in my work.
The bellies exist as constructed, static forms that contain and reflect movement of viewers in the space. My work requires a controlled, disciplined environment that is purposefully created (such is the case with the collection and placement of the convex mirrors), and once the rules are established it can be opened up to experimentation. I believe, similarly to the way Dumas exhibited her paintings, that within structure there is freedom in movement.
Pregnant is a piece that appropriately demonstrates the need to portray visually the way I physically experience the world, and invites the viewer into that space. In the world, I aspire to be an inventor (even though I do not possess the skills). This set back does not deter me as I seem to invent strategies such as those in Pregnant, which can best explain how I feel and interact. During my exhibition I hired a photographer to take pictures of the viewers, both viewing and reflected in the mirrors. These images will be used to evolve the piece further; always pushing the multiple ways movement is a part of my creating process.