The hormone hermit and the hairy moon


The hormone hermit and the hairy moon


Billie Ireland

Exhibition Website

Curatorial Statement

This recent body of work charts my experience of pregnancy and motherhood. As a recent mother to twin boys and a daughter I document this alien state, with all its mystery and ambivalence, both physical and emotional. I explore the meanings of two very different experiences of pregnancy, birth and nurturing. Pregnancy and birth stirred up the loss of my own mother, loss of myself and the stark reality of my own mortality. I want my images to embody and echo the inherent contrasts of strength and beauty with loss and conflict. The cycle of birth and death, light and dark appear obliquely and more obviously, interwoven with intergenerational and universal experience. The works evoke deep dichotomies and the eternal cycle. Carrying and feeding identical twins meant naturally creating symmetry in images. It also calmed and created space to meditate on my acts of feeding and my physical positioning. In contrast the organic visceral nature of the more abstract paintings attempt to visualise the unseen workings of the birthing body and beyond. It is always fundamental that I grapple with materials and processes, creating images that capture a spiritual dimension through the use of ancient and traditional techniques. The time intensive preparation of gesso grounds, carved and layered, permanently record these fleeting moments. I draw using hair fixed with wax and egg yolk. I burn into paper and use fluid paint and intense mark making. The work includes humour, a necessary component to creating artwork against the background of the constant demands of three very young children. Their contribution is an exciting and essential part of the work, both materially and emotionally. Without them this work would not exist.




billie, “The hormone hermit and the hairy moon,” Artist Parent Index , accessed June 18, 2024,

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