Mother Tongue No. II

Photos: Gray Swartzel

A little light enters me. Something inside me begins to stir. Barely. Something new has moved me. As though I'd taken a first step inside myself. As if a breath of air had penetrated a completely petrified being, unsticking its mass. Waking me from a long sleep. From an ancient dream. A dream which must not have been my own, but in which I was captive. Was I a participant, or was I the dream itself—another's dream, a dream about another?

- "One Doesn't Stir without the Other", Luce Irigaray and Hélène Vivienne Wenzel

Upon coming across a home video that presents both his pregnant mother and the artist as a newborn, Gray Swartzel performs a slapstick drag persona of his mother in order to queer his existence prior to birth. The exhibition features new photographs, video and installation that depicts the pair in 1991 and in 2017 as they perform their mother child relationship. 


Gray Swartzel navigates lived performativity and intersectional identities as he interrogates the queer body in relation to the social construction of motherhood. Utilizing photo media, he reconstitutes the often-untold episodes of his family’s matrilineage and installation to make physical conceptions of connectedness and isolation. He holds a BFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is currently an MFA candidate at Carnegie Mellon University.

Exhibition Opening:

 Friday November 17th, 7–10pm

Public Hours:

 Friday November 17th, 7–10pm