Mother of the Forest is one of the tallest trees in Santa Cruz Park. A symbolic womb at her core forms an 8 x 13 foot room, or a hobbit hole, or a sacred space — depending on your perspective. Trees are a testimony to patience and resilience. They offer shelter, contribute to healthy ecosystems, and fight climate change. Redwoods protect and support each other as well as other sapling growth by creating family circles sprouted from the roots of a parent tree. These families may or may not be genetically related. These lessons in cooperation can be a metaphor for humanity in its current fragmented state.
In this online exhibit with the museum, Polly articulates the significance of trees within her own vision of the sacred feminine.She writes: “Trees are symbolic, metaphoric providing relationship, meaning and inspiration. Cross-culturally, trees are associated with the feminine principle, as well as with knowledge, life, cycles, time, and the connecting matrix between earth, water and sky.”
She explains, the relationship between trees and the ways in which “trees are deeply embedded in human consciousness and, physiologically, embodied within the womb of pregnant mothers.”
Her descriptions of the manner in which the placenta is “the only organ a human grows when needed – in order to support, nourish and sustain a human life.” Images of the “umbilical cord representing the trunk, and the exposed blood vessels acting as branches,” are included in these early presentations.
I am a mixed media artist working mainly in sculpture and installation using a range of techniques that include casting, assemblage, photography, projections & sound. My practice is about the domestic and every day, and the stories of the objects around us – in both our homes and museums. Collecting, collating, documenting and display are key elements in my work as is repetition. I am interested in the dynamics of opposites: domestic and industrial, beautiful and ugly, useful and useless, temporary or permanent. My process has resulted in work that explores the fragility of memory; is rooted in the fabric of the home, yet presented in a historical context.
Perhaps social support does improve women’s feelings about motherhood. However, recent articles, during the time of COVID, for example, would indicate that the fundamental challenges for women who are mothers remain fundamentally unchanged. A recent New York Times article, This Is a Primal Scream, depicts the frustration of America’s maternal mental health crisis, as does this article by Kimberly Seals Allers in the Washington Post titled Female Rage is All The Rage (2018). Cathi Hanauer and friends have an updated version of this book called The Bitch Is Back: Getting Older, Wiser, and Happier. The original Bitch in the House is part of MOM’s library.