stephanie cunningham


©2005 Stephanie Cunningham

Wood Frame, Cast Paper, Test Tubes, Twine, Organic Material

34 x 28 x 2.5 inches


Fertility Rites honors a long tradition of artists paying tribute to women’s fecundity. This work contemplates the great extent that contemporary women go through in their lifetime to control fertility. From birth control to clinical insemination, each of the elements in this work relate to a ritual of imposing control over natural cycles and events.


The materials are both organic and clinical. The mustard seeds in the tubes are used to prevent insemination but also represent the male “seed.” The paper eggs appear glossy and visceral while the number of eggs alludes to fertile years. The twine recalls “tied tubes” while the tubes themselves represent test tube conception. Birth control instructions border the work providing the “framework.” The entire work speaks to women as “nature” and women’s struggle to control nature.

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