Madeleine Mae Morris

After graduating from Bennington College in Vermont, I moved to England to work with Leonie Hampton on her project “Collection in Person,” eventually collaborating on the film “Even If I Do It On Purpose”. Soon after, I began working with filmmaker Christine Cynn in Norway on her multimedia project X2068 and, the next year, our group exhibition “Shooting Ourselves” at the Small Spaces Art Gallery. I recently joined the MFA Photography/Video program at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“A Theory of General Relativity”

“A Theory of General Relativity” deconstructs the complex bonds between mothers and daughters – specifically my grandmother, my mother, and myself. The narrative derives from four seemingly simple questions: Who are we? How did we get here? What have we done to each other? What do we owe to each other? I am an unreliable narrator, but that doesn’t make what I say any less true. Throughout history, women and plants have been analogous – mother nature, Eve tending the Garden. In art history, women have almost always been painted in gardens or with flowers – by men because flowers were “feminine”, and by women because female artistic expression was limited by politics and commerce to the dictum of “paint what you know” which really meant “what we will allow you to experience and learn.” Women and plants are also linked by the discipline of caretaking. There’s a symbiotic relationship between women and plants, one that creates a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. For the past few years, I have been living with my grandmother as her caretaker while making this work. It feels pivotal to use that historical language now to address the questions this experience has raised.
In the room I’ve been staying in at my Grandmother’s house, there is an artificial hydrangea on the dresser next to a painting of a hydrangea hanging on the wall. The only other decorations in the room are paintings of the Virgin Mother surrounding a mirror. I can’t remember it any other way.

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