Epigenetic Maternal LandscapesClare Nicholson
Opening February 25th, 6 PM
Exhibition Continues 26 February- 14 March
Epigenetic Maternal Landscapes comprises the remaking of iconic historical obstetric and developmental models and illustrations. Using traditional anatomical artmaking skills, but non-traditional materials such as concrete, ballistics gel, silver-plated bronze, pastillage, aluminium, resin and earthenware, each speculative model is installed on a conceptual plinth. Together, these link exterior environmental influences with maternal–foetal body alteration to (re)conceptualise epigenetic entanglements. Epigenetics understands body–environment relations as interdependent and permeable, resulting in transmissible offspring adversity. Increasingly, responsibility is placed on individual mothers to control aetiological environmental influences, with denigrating epigenetic discourse and visual representation appearing within clinical texts and across popular media. A vestibule displays today’s crudely mass-produced, subjugating obstetric and developmental models. Conveying the medical instrumentalisation of women’s reproductive bodies and gestation, they are discordant with maternal subjectivity. In contrast, Epigenetic Maternal Landscapes disrupts these outmoded medico-scientific artefacts, to animate the contemporary agential ‘mattering’ effects of maternal–foetal bodies instead. Suggesting lived maternal experiences, the sculptural series positions female reproductive biology within a space that carefully navigates the epigenetic materialisation of whole-world problems—beyond the control of individual mothers. Epigenetic Maternal Landscapes brings a new anatomical visuality to medical models to critique the biosocial production and reproduction of bodies.