fat and blood
waxing and waning
Sarah E. Webb explores the fraught terrain of girlhood and motherhood in her installations. Her collections of doll dresses, flowers and other objects are associated with femininity, innocence and childhood as reined in and defined by socially constructed gender roles. Strongly influenced by feminist theory and artistic practice, Webb asks questions about the seeming simplicity of childhood games and their artifacts. As well, the links among generations of women become central as Webb's mother's wedding dress stands embellished by her daughter's complex textual embroidery, and accompanied by flower petals disengaged from their stems by her granddaughter's childish hands. Issues of physicality, memory, role playing and creativity resonante within Webb's elegant installations.
milk and tears
Sarah Webb's 2001 installation milk & tears offers twenty-eight cloth diapers hanging from a wall like so many deflated balloons. In a delicate script, Webb has embroidered the edges of each diaper in blood-red thread with a portion of a poem by Anne Sexton entitled Dreaming of Breasts:
I ate you up.
All my need took
You down like a meal.
This meditation on the breast as locus of pleasure and pain, as site of nurturing and place of destruction, shares (Ghada) Amer's celebration of the contradictions of the female body. Working with fragmentary and paradoxical languages of forms, materials, and ideologies, Amer and her colleagues take heed of Barthes' affirmation: “The text of pleasure is a sanctioned Babel.”