Luce Stewart (b.1998, London) is a non-binary writer and interdisciplinary artist currently studying at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. Text forms the backbone of Stewart’s practice, tying together interests in video, drawing, printing, oil pastels, sculpture, performance and installation in a cyclical approach inspired by their own displacement, as well as self-generated theory.
Stewart publishes work under the artist name ‘Poor Mother’, a performative drag persona created to explore gender dysphoria during their foundation year. Since then, Poor Mother has evolved into a vehicle for Stewart to confront the intricacies of their identity under the veil of character, touching on themes of mental health, disability, gender, nostalgia and othering.
Veiling personal realities under external fantasies is a common thread woven into Stewart’s work. Their writing occupies a liminal cross-section of autobiographical fiction and poetic prose, outwardly throwing focus from context to content, then back again. Oxymoronic combinations continue to surface throughout: humorous distress, surreal relatability, cold eroticisms and heartfelt discomfort reign free.
Poor Mother has shown work at Wusan Art Museum, The Crypt St Pancras, Tramshed Woolwich, The Bloomsbury Theatre and The Bluecoat, Liverpool. A list of their selected exhibitions, performances, residencies and awards can be found here.
“My practice is an arachnid of vocabulary, spanning collective webs of text and image in multidisciplinary weaving. The core of all projects is a language-absorbed abdomen, from which sprout legs invested in drawing, oil pastels, ceramics, video, performance, print, philosophy and installation.
Keeping all ventures connected (in deliberate tenderness) are webs of personal context and intimate experience. These are retained within text, but are inflamed in their relation to visceral texture and visual grotesqueness. Recurrent depictions of babies, frogs, ribs and recognisable nostalgia elicit birth and beginning, but become sticky with transitional liminality and surreal relatability in their affiliation to myself.
After all, this web is my identity – my autobiography. Veiled under humour and pseudo-academic theory are truth-traps to catch viewers and immerse them in the personal.
What does it mean to be human? Ask an artist.
What does it mean to be othered? Ask a spider.”