Whelm refers to the act of engulfing or submerging. This body of work is a reflection of the conflicting feelings of being overwhelmed – of losing myself to all the “have-tos,” “want-tos,” and “need-tos” of life.
Hair serves as the primary element in this series of work. I use it as a metaphorical extension of the gut – a visual means to comment on my internalized relationships with my surrounding environment, loved ones, and myself. I often pair it with recognizable imagery, such as keys, locks, flowers, or a measuring tape. I use flowers as a means to comment on the many stages of life and our choice of perspective. Flowers are used on wedding days, gifted with the birth of a baby, but they are also present at funerals and placed upon gravestones. Perhaps they’re just in bloom, or perhaps they’re showing the first stages of wilt.
Locks serve as a metaphor for personal reservations, the sort of internalized thoughts that may over time become personal baggage or a sense of burden. The measuring tape references the fact that we’re always measuring ourselves. Whether it’s literally on a scale or hypothetically in seeing how we measure up against our colleagues or in comparison to other mothers.
Keys are both a public and personal item. We hold them in our hands, place in them in our pockets close to our skin, put them in our mouths when our hands are full, they literally open the doors to our personal lives; yet, we tend to drop them on the ground, toss them on top of tables and bars, and hand them over when necessary. As a mother, my body sometimes feels like both a personal and shared item as well. Yes, it belongs to me; but, it also belongs to my children. My lap is usually occupied, my hand is often held, and I have spent multiple years with a baby at my breast. While I am incredibly thankful for the amazing gift of motherhood, at times it can also be overwhelming to miss oneself - to miss the individual I was before.