‘Motherland’ explores the lived experience of being a child’s primary parent in contemporary society, the trials and tribulations, the practical difficulties, the joyous moments and the emotional turmoil that women invest when unwittingly embarking on the highly charged confusing role of ‘mother’. Blakelock questions the lack of information and lack of support on offer, how in the career driven environment of the western capitalist world where commodity is paramount, motherhood is often overlooked, taken for granted and de-valued despite the importance bestowed upon the child’s development by child psychologists.
Using a pastel palette of soft tones Blakelock coaxes us into the world of the newborn, while drawing on domestic themes she examines the supposed ideal reciprocity of mother and child in the home. The line, sometimes heavy sometimes only suggested in her paintings respond to the even-block forms creating a flat picture plane, reminiscent of cartoon graphics, enabling the viewer to instantly grasp the environment we are being thrown into.
Evocative mother and daughter scenarios juxtaposed with household objects become figurative abstractions of the truth. Faceless, feminine figures appear stoic yet fragile, joyful and sad as they nestle securely amongst everyday household stuff. Yet there is no tangible frame of reference, no joyful maternal tone, just one of a solitary journey, a lost identity. Feelings of patience, isolation, restraint, protection and perseverance charge Blakelock’s work.
Blakelock’s sculptures on the other hand give authority to the domestic object as she finds a way to make her memories solid. Throwaway objects we identify with the home such as food packaging and silicone bakeware moulds form delicate, intimate, playful sculptures which draw us into a false kind of nostalgia. Ordinary objects are elevated and stacked comfortably together evoking feelings of order, comfort and joy yet at the same time they look unwieldly, vulnerable and fragile.
In these new works Blakelock demonstrates the absurdity of this fantasy world, this unobtainable perfection of ‘motherland’ we are expected to manifest, whilst she examines the disturbing qualities of ‘motherhood’ she exposes the cracks, formed by such unachievable goals, blameless and tongue in cheek, she lovingly exposes the reality of the everyday relationships fraught with pain anger frustration love and devotion between mothers’ and their children.