Jess Taylor

Title

Jess Taylor

Location

Adelaide
Australia

Artist Statement

I am an early career artist whose practice explores my fascination with fictional horror through primarily digital methods of making. Within the broader realm of horror, I have a particular interest in monsters, voyeurism, and depictions of female brutality, sadism, and masochism. Using my own image and body exclusively, my work presents versions of womanhood that transgress the bounds of what we are taught is acceptable, uncanny spectres of female experience that society is keen to repress. Here, monstrosity is configured as a source of damnation and agency, reflecting womanhood as complex and contradictory.

My own experience as a mother has been one of profound contradiction, of exhilarating highs and profound lows, of love and fury, comfort and trauma. I struggle to reconcile the fact that the greatest time in my life is also the one when it was the darkest, and that my body birthed a miracle but feels like a ruin. I am not as I was, but not quite sure what I am now; I’ve yet to turn into anything resembling the gargantuan mother archetype we’re fed, and too much of the old Jess remains for me to consider myself someone new. I have been transformed, reborn, reconfigured using the old parts. Some days those new parts feel like they were made of steel, making me infinitely stronger than I was, and other days that steel bites into my flesh, broken limbs fused back together suddenly failing to bear my weight.

Motherhood is a monstrous condition; it is incredible and disturbing, beautiful and completely fucked up. Like monstrosity, it is transformative, and for the woman-monster, this transformation is a source of both agency and damnation, strength and weakness. My work since my son is in part an attempt to reconcile the contradiction inherent in my own experience of motherhood, and to bridge the divide between what I am and what we are told a mother should be.

Experiencing pregnancy for the second time has greatly influenced my work, causing me to reflect much more closely on the process of bearing a child. There is the strange bodily awareness and attempts to reconcile this cavernous space that exists within me, and evocations of my own paranoias as I imagine this space as a place of both hope and doom. I like to think there is also some absurdity when one looks at a ridiculous, bulbous woman, or my lady-giants, but there is also the tenderness of the nets that keep the babies close to her body, or the way a stomach is opened up to sate the curiosity of the smaller figures who peer inside. There is the sorrow of the figure on the bridge as she surveys the fallen before her (a mediation on periods in history where the practice of fallen-mothers ending their lives and the lives of their offspring was not only a grim expectation, but an act of redemption), and my attempt to see a ruin as a place of beauty and life.

Collection

Citation

“Jess Taylor,” Artist Parent Index , accessed October 22, 2019, http://artistparentindex.com/items/show/366.

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