The installation of photographs titled '(M)other' by Helen McGhie is a multiple portrait of an archetypal Mother figure conflated with the interiors of an ageing house. Its walls, like her body, have passed their period of youthful pristine surfaces. Instead of feeling regret, I view these pictures as a child anticipating disappointment but craving comfort never the less.
The scale of the photographs, their varying heights on the wall, the somber tones all suggest a yearning that is deeply melancholic. The use of photography to address this subject enhances the feeling of loss and as Helen herself suggests - a 'haunting' quality within the images.
'(M)other' is part of a burgeoning appetite for re-theorising the Mother in contemporary art and one that has its roots in the iconography of the Madonna in the history of art but strives to break out of redundant molds that no longer fit. Hermione Wiltshire.
I loved this particularly work in terms of both the instillation's composition and subject matter. McGhie's work has a haunting sensitivity, which is underpinned by a dark almost sardonic play on the fragility of the female form. I was particularly interested her use of traditional hand printed c-type photographs, and the interiors in which the subject is shot, to create a fascinating exploration into notions of identity. Aretha Campbel.