The Other Mother represents the act of human conception, birth, and nurturing from an artist/man/father’s perspective. The work attempts to reconcile the divide between this ultimate creation and the creative process that we confront through art. The result is a masculinized nursery composed of a chopperized pram, a crib and rocker with hard edges and superhero symbols, and walls decorated with oversized, graphic images. To create the pieces in this installation, I worked closely with men in the traditional masculine trades of automobile customizing, welding, woodcraft, and upholstering. The resulting work is flashy and clean, without the hominess and earthy sensuality that come with the traditional feminine idea of motherhood. This difference between The Other Mother, my creation, and the child created by a true mother touches on the essence of what motherhood is. This paper examines the process of discovering motherhood by exploring The Other Mother from a symbolist perspective. It considers symbolism as developed by the Freemasons, Structuralists, and the Symbolist Movement. It compares aspects of The Other Mother to works by Constantin Brancusi, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keefe, Joseph Beuys, Robert Irwin, Matthew Barney, and Liz Cohen. Freemasons and Structuralists believe that symbols don’t merely represent, but they also create something new. Examining The Other Mother from a symbolist perspective may help the work to achieve its purpose.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Installations (Art); Fatherhood--Pictorial works; Symbolism in art
Department, Program, or Center
School of Photographic Arts and Sciences (CIAS)
Rubenstein, Elliott - Chair
Schmiedel, Dean, "The other mother: an artist's conception" (2007). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus