I was recently asked to contribute an essay to an exhibition catalog the museum is publishing this fall. The exhibition is called Work To Do and explores the fluid and dynamic ways we define “women’s work.” I wrote my essay about women’s bodies and the various ways those bodies engage in physical, spiritual, and artistic endeavors.
My favorite piece in the show is a giant mountain of knotted rope created by local artist Pam Bowman. Below is an excerpt from my essay addressing Pam’s piece and the divine physicality of motherhood and domestic life:
In Pam Bowman’s piece, Becoming, the daily movements of a woman’s body are elevated into the realm of the sacred. Each action a woman takes becomes a ritual–the sway and hum or her torso as she rocks a baby to sleep, the arch of her lower back as she stretches upon awakening, her calloused and clenched fists caked with soil, the turn of her wrist while stirring a pot of soup. Bowman uses thousands of single white threads to represent these daily rituals–the tending, soothing, putting away, taking down, folding, and embracing. They are at first ordered and regimented until they eventually loosen and slack into a rugged and knotted dome. Through this piece we see that every woman weaves the threads of her mundane movements into a holy mountain–one that is complex, textured, and undulating. We can imagine, then, each woman as a prophetess climbing atop the mountain she has fashioned and calling out to God to seek her becoming.