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Cathy Hayes

Through my ongoing effort towards unpicking prescribed
gender roles and attributes from art history, classical
mythology or religion, I have begun to examine the
relationship between mother and son., I have begun to
recognize how essential ‘unlearning’ is in regard to gender

The Pieta by Michelangelo epitomizes this subject in a
monumental way. The immense sculpture, carved from a single
block of marble, has a particular feature that interests me. This
is, that ‘Mary’ has the undeniable appearance of youth, this
point has been recognized since the works conception, with
Michelangelo’s suggestion that the purity of such virginal
women allows them not to age.

The persistence of such unbalanced concepts about women,
have trickled down through the centuries, remaining with us
today. I seek to dismantle this delusion by presenting
alternative mothers; those who respond with disinterest – a
mother who stares fixedly at a screen or drinks her wine
absentmindedly. A mother in a bathroom, denotive of the
passive Bonnard nudes and finally, a mythologically inspired
woman who releases her justified rage and suffering.

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