My partner and I have taken a journey over the past eight years into childlessness. Five of those years we were trying to have children before we stopped, grieved and moved on. Curator and writer Susan Bright describes ‘It is just a sad journey that shows that the state of being a ‘mother’ does not necessarily begin with conception or birth, but is something more complicated with roots deep within one’s intentions.’
I have created a body of video and photographic works responding to the experience of this journey. Read the story behind the work in my opening speech at Toi Poneke Gallery, Wellington, NZ.
do undo redo, 2016
video, 10.41 min.
The title of this work, do undo redo, comes from Louise Bourgeois’ work I do, I undo, I redo which consisted of three towers in the turbine hall of Tate Modern. One of the towers represented her mother, another her father and the last her governess. Her father had an ongoing affair with her governess which caused a lot of trauma in the family. I realise that there are three parties on my journey, myself, my partner and our absent children.
do undo redo refers to the fluidity between grieving and moving forward. I still have a cry about this from time to time, when my cycle stops and I go in to menopause I will grieve again and when people stop asking me if I have children and start asking me if I have grandchildren then I’ll probably make work about this again.
Much of my work utilises repetition, particularly the video works. Of do undo redo artist Caroline McQuarrie writes:
In fertility treatment the cycle is monthly. Every month there is a chance of success; of a life being drawn inside ones own body, but if the treatment is not successful then every month there is also an un-drawing. Different to an erasure which needs the thing to have existed first, the un-drawing of a life necessitates accepting it never existed outside your own imagination.
In do undo redo the camera starts focused on blank paper. A woman’s hand draws squiggles in graphite until the screen is full. Then the hand removes the squiggles (the footage is reversed), followed by the hand redrawing the squiggles.
do undo redo, 10.41 min, 2016
For Sale: baby shoes, never worn, solo show, Toi Poneke Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand, 2016
Featured on CIRCUIT, https://www.circuit.org.nz/film/do-undo-redo
 Susan Bright, pg. 21, Motherlode: Photography, motherhood and representation in Home Truths: Photography and Motherhood, Ed. Susan Bright