Wellington artist Beverly Rhodes examines the domestic environment, changing relationships between parents and children, and the trauma of separation and loss. Three generations are represented: she addresses her relationship to her mother and to her daughter.
The kitchen cupboards in Transformational Space (2004)—taken from her own childhood home—are painstakingly and lovingly swaddled in scarlet woollen fabric as an act of healing, of coming to terms with childhood. The fabric has a historical resonance; woollen fabric having functioned as a trade object between Pākehā settlers and Māori in the nineteenth century. (Rhodes is of Kai Tahu and Scottish descent.)
Rhodes pays tribute to the history of women’s domestic work. In the video You Are My Sunshine: Memories of a Good-Enough Mother (2004), she folds piles of white sheets with her daughter. The work reveals the monotony of domestic chores but also the pleasures of billowing fabric.