cliare hickey

“This current work has started to explore my experience of my son’s traumatic birth and early motherhood through the creation of embedded casts, waste moulds and fragile, ruptured sculptural pieces.”

GRAVIDUS is a series of work instigated during the artist’s recent pregnancy whilst completing her MA in Art & Design at the School of Art in Birmingham. Inspired by the mould-making process, these works indirectly reference the changing bodily state during pregnancy.

The focus on process and manufacture plays a significant role in both the production of the work and its inherent meaning. Moulds contain both positive and negative forms within a singular, symbiotic unit; as objects of function, they are often overlooked and discarded during the casting process.

In GRAVIDUS I and II, the ‘mould’ captures the action of making within its internal space; whilst its large, solid outer form becomes an almost defensive structure. As the artist’s pregnancy progressed, the work changed in proportion, scale and use of material so that it references rather than simply depicts a stage in the mould-making process. By removing them from a purely functional role, the ‘mould’ is now elevated to the status of the casts they would once create. Utilising plaster and concrete as the main sculptural materials and wood and steel for the work’s display reflects their traditional and continuous usage within construction, architecture and sculpture due to their physical properties of solidity and resilience.

In GRAVIDUS, this enduring presence symbolises the universality of pregnancy, whilst the material strength reflects the personal feelings surrounding the relationship of female artists and the changing roles they come to inhabit.

… more about Claire

Claire Hickey is a visual artist whose work is underpinned by manual explorations into the making process and the personal experiences that this can convey within sculptural work; the physicality of materials and spaces in relation to the body is a fundamental theme within her practice.