Reimagining the maternal body in feminist theology and contemporary art
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How can contemporary art reimagine the body of the mother in relation to a feminist Christian conception of the divine? And, at the level of culture, what might be the implications of the maternal body imaged as ordinary, multiple, generative and divine?
Following movements in her own visual art practice, and traversing the discourses of feminist theory, contemporary art and philosophy of religion, artist and scholar Rebekah Pryor considers philosopher Luce Irigaray's key notions of sexuate difference, the sensible transcendental and "love at work in thinking" on the way to proposing alternate artistic and theological motifs of the maternal body and the divine for our time. Five new motifs emerge, challenging iconographic conventions and proposing an expanded vision of the mother and the divine in feminist theology and contemporary art.
1. An Ordinary Story 1
2. Performing the Icon 10
3. Lament 52
4. Sacred Canopy 92
5. Lullaby 121
6. Horizon 144
"This book is vivid, original and compelling . It makes a profound contribution to theology through its artistic testimony to encounters with the divine in the depths of motherly experience. It also exemplifies the potential of new and emerging methodologies in theological reflection which employ creative practice to generate insights that are not representable through more conventional, propositional forms." -- Heather Walton, University of Glasgow, UK
"As though being taken for a long walk on the shore towards it, Motherly ethically imagines and invites us towards a "new cultural horizon". Artist-scholar Rebekah Pryor writes as "the woman in the mother". Her humble work and (after Irigaray) "loving thought" that persistently reaches-searches "our creative capacity for autonomy and reflexivity" caresses... Repeated 'patterns' pasted and paced, joining domestic and public, and interior and architectural, trace Pryor's 'gestures' that call for our faculty and love for different others." -- Utako Shindo, Hosei University, Japan
"Motherly achieves a critical and skilfully woven creative, theological, and personal reflection that engages everyday life with wide-ranging philosophical and theological claims. Using narrative, visual art, performance, installation, and videography, the work offers a historic scope that draws upon the insights of the early church, medieval mystics, First Nations, and contemporary global exchanges. For scholars of Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva, the argument and application of sexuate difference theory and semiotic chora is stunningly nuanced and cogent. The embodied and materially situated analysis is palpably accessible and Motherly achieves a multimodal and multidisciplinary investigation that will resonate with students and researchers." -- Ruthanne Kim, Minneapolis College, USA