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Cracks in the Cosmos

Artist: CJ Howard
Installation Year: 2019
Inspiration: I worked on the mannequin with my son, who was only 18 months old at the time. It was surreal to have arms and legs laying all over the kitchen room floor. Watching my toddler drip paint all over the mannequin was such a treat!
Description: Responding to my sons drips of paint, I coated the rest of the mannequin in gold acrylic. Coating this mannequin in gold prompted me to revisit my perception of my own body. As every part of my body stretches and softens with age, I vacillate between indifferent acceptance and momentary lapses into grief. I feel very little excitement in - or even ownership of - my body. That's what motherhood does to many of us, I think. My yoga practice now mostly relieves the aches of motherhood - rather than prompting a joyous appreciation for my body's capacity. Perhaps that is what this mannequin piece is really all about. The brilliantly colored cracks in our "self" that our children create - purposefully and by their mere existence. Even so, our bodies are still golden, precious, cosmic. And yet we gaze off into the distance. Unaware. Unable or unwilling to look at the body we now inhabit.