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before and after child birth

Gwenn Seemel
Before and after: Child birth
2006 and 2007
acrylic on bird’s eye
30 x 54 inches (combined dimensions)

When I created these portraits, I had been having health problems, but I hadn’t yet been diagnosed with endometriosis. It’s strange to think that, as I made these paintings, I assumed this was a transition I would go through one day. I hardly remember who that girl who believed that making babies was a simple thing, even though I tried to remind myself of her with this self-portrait in 2010.

What follows is the text originally displayed with Before and after: Child birth. It describes the earth change that I chose as an analogy for this woman’s transition.

Early on in the earth’s formation, when it was still nothing but a lump of semi-molten stuff, a smaller, rogue mass of semi-molten stuff crashed into it. The force of the impact organized the earth’s matter into four layers—inner core, outer core, mantle, crust—and set our planet’s axis on an angle. A portion of the rogue planet spun off from the earth into lunar orbit. Still today, the moon keeps the earth steady on its tilted, season-making axis.