Kirsty Templeton Davidge

Home: Edmonton, Alberta
Title: S(Mother)
Media: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: 117 x 127 cm


As a woman, how I behave and express myself is shaped by the cultures I was raised in. Gender roles, characteristics and activities are not innate but are socially constructed. As a Mother, I am also influenced by my own Mother; both the good and the not-so-good S(Mother) came about from thinking about the overwhelming desire to hold on to one’s children but knowing it is not right. In my painting, I am hunched upon my daughter’s back, trying to hold on to something fleeting and knowing this is wrong. My grip is not tight, and she seems unbothered, but her face has turned away as she seeks her path. This is how it is supposed to be; children should go out into the world and find their way. But as a Mother, the feelings are conflicted.
Further, as my role changes, it contracts and expands with the passing years and responsibilities. I simultaneously find myself trying to deny my aging but also wanting to reconcile and make peace with the inevitable changes to my constructed female role. This painting contemplates these transitions and examines ideas around mothering, femininity, beauty, gender, age and intimacy. My work begins with second-hand clothes; I search for garments that offer a history or a counterpoint, and my models are the women in my life. I am using myself as a model, and along with my daughter, I am seeking overlooked details and intimacies that are only revealed through long and careful observation. My paintings are quiet, and my palette subdued in an effort to open an honest dialogue … hopefully with my viewer but ultimately with myself.