Dawn Liddicoatt

Good Eggs? from the Kitchen Series (2019)
ceramic figurines, egg carton, kitchen counter
7 x 12 x 5 in.

While sheltered at home, I don’t have access to clay, which I use to make my Venus figurines. After creating numerous paper Venuses and painting a series of self portraits the first month or so of the quarantine, I began longing for clay…to feel my hands in clay, working the clay, sculpting.

I live alone, and often during this shelter in place have longed for companionship. I began taking my Venus figurines out on my deck, burying them in planters and digging them up, which felt like giving them lives of their own. I photographed the process. Then I took them into the kitchen, kind of a tongue-in-cheek version of “barefoot and pregnant” in the kitchen, since one of the theories about the paleolithic Venus figurines is that they were fertility figures. I posed them in various spots – in an egg carton, in glasses in the cupboard, balcony party in the refrigerator door, in the blender, a microwave lineup, hot tubbing in a mortar and pestle – also photographing this kitchen series. They felt like dolls. Little companions. Which is another theory about the paleolithic Venuses – that they served as children’s dolls.

I’ve always loved holding them – they fit perfectly and feel so good in the palm of my hand, but moving them about, giving them life in this way, added an element of fun and mischief to their otherwise calm, historic wisdom. It opened the door to my thinking about them and their paleolithic cousins in a new way, these powerful, ancient feminine forms that continue to mystify.

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© Dawn Liddicoatt