Artist's Statement

Elizabeth M. Claffey

Archival Inkjet Prints, 24" x 18"

Darkness and Nothing More explores the politics of motherhood and family life, as well as identity formation and performance. Utilizing nighttime as a location for love and familial labor, I ask myself what it means, when defining my own identity invades the privacy of my family? I leave my partner to check on my children over and over, at first because they require it but later because it soothes my own anxieties. After they fall asleep, I get to watch them at a distance – with my body intact, untouched, un-smothered – and see them, still. They seem small again. Slow breaths fill me with warmth while slight movements challenge my nervous system for fear that I’ve been too brazen, lingered too long in this moment where everyone is here and safe. Through this series, I question further: How do we each impress ourselves onto this home we share? What is the relationship between interior and exterior domestic space and how do they influence the imagination? My family is aware of the camera and they resist. Their desire is not satiated by the camera, as they already know its limitations. They recognize this object as one that mitigates and divides my attention. Family longing extends far beyond the gaze and deep into the senses: touch, smell, sound, taste. Participating only to keep me a little longer, they are aware, as I am, that this is not a collaboration but more a performance of our mutual obsessions.