mothers and daughters

In September of 2000, I came to the desert of Israel for a one-year artist residency with the Arad Arts Project. (Fifteen years later, I am still residing in Israel).  In an effort to come to know the women of the town in which I was living, I chose to work with mothers and daughters in an exploration of this complex relationship through movement, dialogue, writing and art making. It was a time in my life when my studio work was primarily focused on my own relationship with my mother 3000 miles away. 

I set aside a full day for each initial encounter with the mother-daughter pair which included casting and then follow up with more dialogue and writing in another meeting. We began our work in movement ( I have a background in dance and movement) and dialogue until the pair would arrive at a pose that most represented the current state of their relationship.  In some cases, I would do more than one casting of each pair.  When the casting was complete, I took the texts, either written or spoken, when working with the pair, and used them to envelope the finished pieces.  In the case of the “Blue Mother Daughter” (Image number 1 above), the mother wrote this text about the experience of standing in a naked hug for 2 hours with her 12 year-old daughter.  Her text, in her writing, is what envelops this piece. 

The second image shown here is of a young girl weeks before her mandatory draft into the Israeli army.  This is the second casting with her.  The first was with her and her mother.  She wanted to do another session without her mother, where she felt that she could express herself more fully. These artworks, with the exception of “Blue Mother and Daughter”, were later set out in the desert near the site of the Labyrinth (2031-Desert Labyrinth) and left there to either be “acquired” or to decompose with the passing of time.  It was a symbolic gesture to the shifting nature of relationship and the presence of “human form” in a desert landscape, another topic I had been exploring in my photographic work that year.