Josephine Cachemaille says motherhood is a deeply unfashionable thing to make commentary upon, ‘mainly because society is critical and suspicious of women whose self-worth is perceived to be inherently tied to their identities as mothers.’ This doesn’t stop her.
Josephine’s exhibition She’s a Force is a collection of paintings and sculptures. ‘They’re all concerned with conjuring a positive future for my daughter who is moving through the well-trodden landscape of young adulthood.’
She’s a Force explores the separation of mother and daughter, specifically her daughter Rosa leaving home. ‘One’s child leaving home often raises all sorts of anxieties, but because it is universal and commonplace, this experience is obscured. Devoting time to this subject matter, engaging hopeful magical strategies, and exploring this in an art context, is empowering because it raises this experience up and shamelessly declares my dedication to my daughter and to motherhood.’
Usually ‘a maximalist’, Josephine likes to introduce a lot of things into a space ‘and let them duke it out.’ But She’s a Force is very pared back. ‘The artworks are made as power-objects, or visualisation devices. Their simplicity speaks to the clarity and focus required to will this future into being.’ She uses a lot of found objects in her work, ‘because they are surprising triggers for all sorts of associations and memories. For me they evoke personhood because they have their own independent histories which they bring with them.’
Canvas, ‘a powerful traditional material’ is integral to Josephine’s work. In ‘a time when a lot of art-making is concerned with pushing what art might be’, she uses it ‘to indicate that whatever I’m doing it is still “art”.’
December 2019-January 2020
First published ArtZone #82