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This body of work explores themes of fertility, reproduction, pregnancy, women's health, and aims to unwind and explore the extreme complexities of the experience of motherhood. I am taking my cues from surrealist and symbolists aesthetics to create a spectral dream-scape in which the joy, pain, disappointment, heartbreak, pride, exhilaration and devastations of motherhood can be untangled and made tangible.


I have developed a multi-stage image-making process rooted at the intersection of human creativity and artificial intelligence; I am using my own original painted artworks as visual prompts, along with conceptual analysis and thematic descriptions of my work as text prompts, to create short digital animations using AI driven image generating software. 


I then go through the generated animations, frame by frame, analyzing the evolving compositions, to extract still-frames that resonate with themes which subvert traditional depictions of motherhood as they present in Western art. These AI-inspired images the serve as inspiration for new original oil paintings, which I produce using classical renaissance painting techniques.


By purposely choosing to include the artifacts and inclusions created by AI image generating tools, as a painter uses visible brushstrokes as a structural element of their design, I aims to prompt contemplation on the nature of creativity, the evolving role of technology in the arts, and the symbiotic relationship between the artist and the tools they employ. 


This series articulates a visual dialogue that transcends the dichotomy of analog and digital.  I hope to invite viewers to reconsider the very essence of artistic creation; this fusion challenges preconceived notions of authorship, blurring the boundaries between the artist and the machine. By engaging with AI as a collaborative partner, I aim to explore the limitless possibilities that emerge when human imagination intersects with the computational power of artificial intelligence.  


My first pregnancy, like 60% of all first pregnancies, miscarried.


I hadn’t known I was pregnant until the bleeding started, and wouldn’t stop.  It was evident right away that something was wrong, that this was more than my typical menstrual ebb and flow.


Two doctors, the ultrasound technician, and blood work all came to the same conclusion; a normal, healthy, non-life threatening miscarriage.  As I was processing the shock of being pregnant and no longer pregnant at the same time, I asked the final doctor who has confirmed the verdict, “why did this happen?  Did I do something wrong?”


And that’s when I she told me, professionally, a little sympathetically, “60% of first pregnancies end in miscarriage.  It just happens.  It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong or anything is wrong with you.” 


“In fact, you could probably be pregnant again within 6 months if you tried, but I recommend giving your body time to recover”.


I took her advice and started being more responsible with my birth control methods. Although newly married and eventually wanting to start a family, that pregnancy was neither planned or anticipated.  It came and went, and left me shaken. 


Despite my best intentions, less than 3 months later I was pregnant with my only child - my son.  What the doctor failed to tell me at the time, and I didn’t know, was that the hormonal surge caused by miscarriages actually increases fertility.

I didn’t find that out until very recently- after years of trying and failing to have a second child, another doctor told me that the miscarriage was quite possibly responsible for the successful conception of my son.


Why didn’t I know?  Did you know that?  All this basic human reproductive information?  I hope you did. Why didn’t I?


The death of my first child/


passing dream/potential-ridden clump of cells 

(pick one to suit your belief structure) 

was responsible for the life of my baby - my monster, my world, my heart, my love.


Who were you, my little dead child?  

My unborn one, will I ever meet you?  

Thank you for my son. 



From conception, throughout the surreal experience of pregnancy, to the basics of keeping a newborn alive, the story of early motherhood is as multi-faceted and complex as any human experience.  It is arguably the most complex human experience, and has only become more so in contemporary times with developments in medical technology.


My current body of work, under the working title Barren, aims to unwind and explore the extreme complexities in the experience of early motherhood.  I draw not only from my own life, but also from those women around me whom I love; The IVF treatments, the surrogacies, the sperm donors, the ectopic pregnancies, the unexpected twins, the many miscarriages, the abortions, the failed marriages, the rapes, the unwanted pregnancies, the emergency c-sections, the preeclampsia, the still-births, the premies, the prolapsed uteruses, the stone-cold infertility, the endless negative pregnancy tests, the broken dreams, the encroaching menopauses, the medicated, the postpartum depression, the raging hormones, the hospital and the home births - every woman’s story with reproduction is a unique as a fingerprint. The deeper you dive into these stories, the better you listen to the women telling them, the clearer it becomes that any concept of a “normal” pregnancy is pure nonsense, and the very idea dissipates like a smoke-screen put up by a patriarchal telling of the human story, designed to dismiss and discredit the song of the female experience. 

The historically misrepresented narrative of motherhood is glaringly evident with an audit of mothers as depicted in the history Western oil painting. The multifaceted complexities of the female experience has repeatedly been reduced to an easily-digestible dichotomy of the 'sacred mother' or the 'grieving mother'.  On one hand, we have motherhood in all of its unattainable and fictional perfection - absolute love, devotion, comfort, and ease; the 'sacred mother' lives completely for her child and embodies all things feminine and nurturing,.  From Madonna and Child by da Vinci, to Camille Monet et un Enfant au Jardin by Claude Monet, before, after and in-between, how many paintings exist of a mother tenderly holding, gazing upon, breastfeeding, or otherwise nurturing their child?  Again and again we see male artists depicting and celebrating internal and infallible motherly love. Paintings like this exist as a symbol of some impossible perfection, some sacred duty that women hold to reproduce and love their offspring above all else, including and especially bodily autonomy. 


On the other hand, there are the depictions of the 'grieving mother', clinging to her dead child, lost in grief to the point of insanity - an allegory for the darkness and evils of life, a one-dimensional symbol for all things abhorrent, such as Peter Paul Ruben’s 1610 version of The Massacre of the Innocents, or more recently, Picasso’s Guernica; the devastated, tortured, hysterical mother, clinging to the lifeless grey body of their child, often bare breasted and lost in agony, This trope is used to symbolize the worst of humanity, of war, cruelty, and atrocities wrought by man.  Neither extreme portrays the true story of motherhood, and are merely a reflection of men’s interpretations and desires for a fundamental human reality they can not experience firsthand. 


In both of these extremes exist little to nothing of the actual experience of motherhood. As a historically male dominated media, oil paintings have failed to show anything beyond these one-demential allegories, and have completely failed to capture reality.  My series of oil paintings aim to subvert traditional depictions of motherhood as they present in Western art, and to reimagine the archetypal Madonna and child, free of its religious and patriarchal connotations.  To this end, I have engaged AI image generating software to help develop my compositions. Using AI in image making introduces an element of unpredictability and spontaneity, disrupting the controlled precision inherent in oil painting.  


Beyond subtle discrepancies in painting materials, and the limits of the artist’s technical capabilities, oil painting allows for the creation of luminous, persuasive depictions of reality. Especially obvious in pre-photographic society, the nature of oil painting is to tell a history of human experience through the biases of the artist; he whom holds the brush has control over how our past is depicted and remembered. The differentiation between fine art and propaganda is a relatively recent one, and still a place of many blurred lines.     The images produced by master painters, (either by their own desire or by commission of the powerful few who can act as patron), have shaped the human psyche for centuries, and with it, many of our societal constructs, including motherhood.  


As a painter, there are few areas of my life I can exert control more complete than in my own paintings.  By using AI as a co-creator, I invite a collaboration that reveals the latent symbolism and narratives embedded within the algorithms, which have been trained on potentially millions of images, some laden with historical artistic biases, and others brought to the topic through associative means not fully understood by even the creators of the AI. In this way, there is a fundamental surrendering of control to the process, not unlike the automatic drawings of the Dadaists, or the splatter paintings of Abstract Impressionists, or even, I would argue, the creation of a human child. 


The idea of human children as generative art feels less far fetched and more accurate the further I consider the parallels between my experiences in motherhood and in the creation of this new series. In both cases I start with the most intimate raw material, an original oil painting as a visual prompt, and my own genetic material.  In both cases I put said material through a highly complex process that I can influence with some degree of input; in my art process, that would be the writing prompts I develop, and the input parameters of the final animation.  In my journey of human reproduction, it would include variable such as who I choose as a sexual parter, choose as my doctor, how I eat, how I try to experience my pregnancy, how I prepare logistically and mentally for motherhood;  and in both acts of creation, the end result comes into being as a result of my choices, but somehow also independent, spontaneous, unexpected and beyond my control.  A new manifestation of creativity has come into being, in a form far beyond my individual creative capabilities, for me to meet, observe and hopefully love.  


This series of paintings comes from me, and me alone, but some how also feels bigger than me, separate from me, and as I paint them, it is not only an experience of creation, but also of discovery for something that has come into being from me in ways that I can only understand on the most cursory level.  It does very much remind me of my experience of a mother, watching this wonderful, strange, unique little man grow in front of my eyes, knowing full-well he was once one of my internal organs. 


It is important to note that this comparison between AI generation and the process from conception to birth draws attention to one of the fundamental questions in AI use today - Is AI image generative software merely a tool like any other art supply? It is an expansion of the artist's toolkit, inviting a dialogue between the centuries-old techniques of art making and the cutting-edge capabilities of modern technology?  Or is AI a co-creator, interpreting and generating imagery based on enigmatic prompts, blurring the distinction between the artist's intention and the computational capabilities of the algorithm?  


The first possibility seems far too simplistic of an understanding for such a sophisticated technology, but the second has produced waves of fear and anger in the fine art community and beyond.  People are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of AI making art, and somehow robbing humanity of one of its most fundamental forms of spiritual self-expression.  I don’t claim to have answers to these questions as of yet; my exploration of AI image generation is too new to fully understand consequences of this technology, but I firmly believe that exploration is the only step forwards. To deny the existence or to attempt to resist the new realities that AI image generation has brought to artists, is absolutely akin to being a modern-day Luddite, without having the cotton mills to burn.  AI image generation is here, and it absolutely irrevocable shifts the paradigm of art making on every fundamental level.


Ultimately, beyond attempting to record and communicate ideas and stories about motherhood that I believe to be fundamental to the narrative of humanity, and therefore essential to the purview of fine art, Barren questions the hierarchical distinctions between traditional craftsmanship and contemporary technological innovation.


The collaboration between myself and an artificial intelligence becomes a quest to provide a contemporary perspective on the exploration of the human psyche, and to invite the viewer to challenge not only their own narratives of “normal” human reproduction, but to reconsider the very essence of artistic creation, and the limitless possibilities that emerge when human imagination intersects with the computational power of AI.  

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