Ready To Burst
Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities - Arvada CO, 2017
Handmade paper, wire, beeswax, chalk pastel, powdered pigment, ink, baby-blanket yarn, light, Poem by Maria Berardi
Ready to Burst and Unraveling showed concurrently at the Arvada Center for the Arts & Humanities during the summer of 2017. These two installations present parallel compositions addressing two contrasting experiences post-conception - one work celebrating the joy of impending motherhood, while the other mourning the heartbreak of miscarriage. I collaborated with Maria Berardi, a gifted poet, with these two works - Maria composed a poem responding to each piece that was displayed as part of the installation. The titles arose out of her poems, as well as a line of text on the arms of the figure in Ready To Burst. There was a recording of Maria reading each poem that could be accessed via cell phone and a code.
Here is the text of the poem that accompanied Ready To Burst:
Such suspension; heavy in all
the meanings of that word.
The shape of a pregnant woman near term
is discomfiting, embarrassing, unnerving:
people joke, You are as big as a house!
people joke, You are ready to burst!
Such ripeness, such a liminal state
between life – new life! –
and death, that ancestral memory
that babies die. That women die having babies.
A grave matter, this Darwin bargain
of being both big-brained and bipedal.
This end near its ending
a great beginning.
Hands alight on their rightful home
in intimacy with what is within,
and a great gladness glows, right through fear.
This is worth it. This is so worth it.
The planets hang like low-lying fruit
and this sweetness splits itself like living cells;
wasps come to suck and bees,
junkies, stammer at the roses.
This shape a house, a worthy ship.
-- Maria Berardi