2 large colourful paintings with mothers and children

Domestopias are a series of paintings that take a dark and humorous look at domesticity and care in women’s lives.

Large paintings domestopias list of works

‘Topia’ means place and utopian and dystopian fiction are political poles between ideality and dysfunction. Orwell names and defines ‘dystopia’ as a place where things have gone wrong, and as a place of limited choice and repression of speech, perfectly describing the experience of women and carers on a daily basis. The tension, and ambivalence in mothering is difficult to manifest and make visible and are rarely even talked about in Western ideal-critical culture.

These dark,funny and chaotic scenes use classical and historical references, often mimicking political works by ‘masters’; Gesturing figures and cherubic small children with washing machines, televisions and computers conflate conventions from different eras, mixing styles and tropes in order to make unexpected links to the past as well as reinterpret it to comment on shifting cultural and social relationships of our own time.

painting with rich colours of lots of figures looking after childrenIntimating ominous darkness behind the potential safe and decorative exterior, the colour and tactile nature of the paintings is intentionally seductive. There is intentional tension between content and form and an invitation to audiences to look again – perform a ‘double, to challenge them to see flashes of hidden domestic moments.

Figurative painting has theatrical ‘presence’ and the gestural movement in the figures engages our irresistible anthropomorphic impulse to project our own mental life and stories onto the images we discern – even if they are not instantly recognisable or relatable to our own experiences. The paintings create a living tissue of paradoxical experience, provoking temporal and a spatial engagement partly through their tactility and depth of colour made through combinations of bitumen and oil paint.

The use of dripped bitumen paint is part of a material process of using unstable and impermanent materials that echo impermanence of our own bodies as well as being a metaphor for fluidity – flow – and change. The paintings’ aesthetic and visual expose the dark and light stories of motherhood and care that no-one dares share for fear of judgement. Visual representation should re-shape our thinking and create empathy and understanding for the lives of women and mothers.