About Artist's Work

Manganese Dendrites

Twilight Zone
Ora kraus

To Catch The Moon
Tally Cohen Garbuz

Crack
Galit Semel

Who am I holding in my arms when I'm holding mom?
adi soffer

Transformations

Crack: Tel Aviv Artists House 2008
Galit Semel

A representation of a meaningful relationship between mother and daughter take on a visual expression articulating a dialectic system of power relations feeding on the tension between the visible and the concealed, present and missing, encounter and parting, life and death. In this exhibition Inbar attempts to ascertain her emotional stance towards motherhood. Her point of view is a binary one: empathy for the daughter vs. empathy for the mother. Anxieties passed on to her as a child, created in a non-protective environment, caused her to develop her own anxieties. The attempt to understand this complex relationship becomes more pressing as the artist herself becomes a mother. The fear of harming and creating anxieties as a mother engulfs her relationship with her daughter. The representation of the mother from the daughter's point of view generally stems from a crisis, like an illness or the death of the mother, and deals with breaking the idealized image of the mother and its complexity. Works dealing with mother-daughter relationships are not common in the history of art. The ability to create them involves a maturing of the separation process. These painting represent the anxieties one experiences in the stage before the final breaking away from the mother. The works evoke layers of sunken childhood experiences. They speak of a charged life under the threat of a domineering mother and the meaning of motherhood. What is normative motherhood? According to Winnicott, "a good enough mother" is "a mother making active adjustments to the baby's needs that is gradually reduced as the baby develops…the success of caring for a baby depends on the existence of dedication…" (1). The concept of a mother becomes highly charged. It is not interpreted as an immediate connotation. The role of the omnipotent mother has led to a desperate search for the inner and practical way to "good motherhood". Many books describe the experience of being a mother. Motherhood refers to the entirety of the mother's relationship with her child on a sociological, physiological and emotional level. The maternal mother is the one expressing the masochistic traits of self sacrifice, never expecting a return for her efforts (2). The greatest difficulty posed by motherhood creates a feeling of a wide gap between fantasy and the actual experience. The accepted maternal pattern does not take into account the mother's subjective experience of herself. Therefore, the mother's existence in psychoanalytical thought is limited to her objectification on the worlds of others: the child and the man (3). The phenomenon of the mother's absence is rooted in a basic human difficulty of acknowledging our debt to our mother. This debt is one that cannot possibly be paid, and due to the mother's central role and overwhelming importance, it gets repressed until it is erased. Winnicott writes: "The original dependency is not remembered, therefore there is no acknowledgment of the debt, apart from its representation, as a first stage in this recognition, in the fear of women" (4). On the one hand Inbar feels indebted to her mother, but on the other hand she wishes to escape the fear she instilled in her. The little girl facing the big mother is in fact the scaled-down image of her own mother. Her identity is built through her mother and her representation. The nature of this identity is measured by the way her mother's memory lives within her. Her personality is necessarily formed by a combination of innate and environmental factors. Therefore, she holds within her the conscious and unconscious influences of her mother. Their encounter emphasizes the ambivalence in their relationship. The wish to part from the domineering mother and form an independent identity on the one hand, and the strong wish to get closer to and connect with the mother, on the other hand. The ambivalent attitude towards the mother is one of bonding and rejection, love and anger, because she did not encourage independence, but at the same time did not offer protection from limitations. The inability to please the mother was undermining. The cracks in the relationship are expressed by the complicated, unusual birth, as well as in the fact that most of the characters in the paintings lack facial features. The faces are unidentified. The schematic characters have become symbolic. There is no physical contact between the characters, no expression of emotions. The "normative" motherhood is cracked. An accumulation of cracks has led to collapse. The death of the mother has brought the charged relationship to its end, and has taken away the threat of the mother's controlling behavior as well as that of her eventual death. The parting with the mother, expressed in the way the character melts away, also brings forward the finality of human existence. The mending of the complex relationship with the mother is expressed in the artist's relationship with her daughter. The mending of cracks is done with maternal care, accompanied by letting go of extreme worrying.
Notes: Winnicott, D.W., Playing and Reality, Translator: Yossi Miloh, Am Oved, Tel Aviv, 2001, p. 43. Helena Deutsch's definition for motherhood: Deutsch, H., The Psychology of Woman: a Psychoanalytic Interpretation, Vol. II, Grune & Straton, New York, 1944, p. 18. Palgi-Heker, A. From No-Motherhood to Motherhood, Am Oved, Tel Aviv, 2006. Winnicott, D.W., The Family and Individual Development, Routledge, London & New York, 1993, p. 164.

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