Swallow the Tail

Elizabeth Hibbard

2017 - 2019

I make work in order to communicate that which is eternally present, painful, and contradictory about being female-bodied, and self-reflexively, how this particular mode of embodiment and subjectivity is intrinsic to the photographic process itself. My most recently completed project is titled "Swallow the Tail", culling from a Scottish proverb I heard often growing up from my mother, who heard it from her mother, and so on: “If you swallowed the cow, don’t choke on the tail”; The project describes liminal space between self and (m)other, physical and psychological, intimacy and isolation, consumption and expulsion, desire and revulsion. I am concerned with how the construct of femininity is unreflectively inscribed, not just socially, but from within the space of the family structure— especially as it is mediated within the dynamics of the mother/daughter relationship, as well as the integral role of the lenticular gaze in that process of inscription.

By examining the hidden recesses of the body and subconscious mind, I hope to find some stone yet unturned for guidance moving forward. Inextricable are my anxieties about reproduction and motherhood, and my the confines of my body in the current political and environmental climate. As I approach my thirties, I have been forced to grapple with my own ambivalence, desire and fear around having children in the context of both my relationship to my mother and the anthropocene. Coming of age in an era marked by the most significant and rapid technological change we have ever known as a species, and adding in the extreme uncertainty of ecological stability in scientific predictions for the next generation, I am forced to additionally weigh the ethics of reproduction in an era that is consciously blind to the likely disasters that lie ahead. My generation has been raised in the shadow of impending doom, and how to proceed gracefully in an uncertain world is a now ever more pressing collective question than ever before.

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  • Jamie

  • Flesh Study V

  • Flesh Study iv

  • iodine study iii (corner spell)

  • Flesh study I

  • The Young Martyr

  • my/her

  • Untitled

  • Graeme and the Path

  • Archival inkjet print, beeswax, human hair

  • Daisy and Violet

  • Eye (marked spell)

  • Groping

  • Self Portrait Taken by My Mother

  • The Zone

  • Cunt

  • Mom as Pierrot

  • Untitled

  • Cleanse

  • The Dining Room