AnOther Magazine | The Contemporary Women Artists Reclaiming Motherhood

The Contemporary Women Artists Reclaiming Motherhood.


"Scottish-born Chinese figurative painter Elaine Woo MacGregor directly reflects on the relationship with her two mixed race children, Carina and Ramona, who feature in her most recent series, Maman et Muses. Through complex, coming-of-age scenes, she frames important fleeting moments of time, memories and the psychological intimacy she has with her children.

Her work also points to a forever-shifting relationship as her children inevitably grow up, taking the viewer “beyond a likeness portrait.” Paintings such as Bathers in Avon (2022) are based on true events: the artist recalls the summer of 2021 when “the children were very carefree and going wild swimming in our local river (Avon) in Linlithgow. I wanted to capture the spirit of the youth and a sense of electricity (especially considering the atmosphere at the time during the global pandemic).” There’s an indistinct quality to many of Woo MacGregor’s scenes. It’s as if she is protecting her personal sitters from too much scrutiny or close observation by the onlooker, deliberately creating surreal, dreamlike narratives.

In contrast, the personal becomes political in the paintings of American artist Ashley January. It was her own traumatic pregnancy and the survival of her prematurely-born son that has informed January’s unfiltered paintings of Black mothers and small children. Centring her subjects’ experiences, with motifs structured around the rituals of care, she addresses the Black maternal mortality and morbidity crisis in America, where Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women. "


London Art Fair's 'Reframing The Muse' curator Ruth Millington uncovers a new guard of contemporary women artists rejecting overly-romanticised views of motherhood and instead openly embracing the theme. Read the article here :