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NEONATES

Work By Robert McCormack

"‘Cool Kids Never Sleep’ one slogan reads on printed child’s onesie in the downtown’s Walmart. The boys section contains rows upon rows of onesies for under fives, each garment carefully compromised with a cheeky slogan and gendered signal. The boys section is nothing but a commodity forrest of camouflage, occasionally interrupted by a clumpy car design or tractor or train. In opposition the girls section boasts a colourful choir of pink and rainbows singing to the same song sheet.

Queer theorist Kathryn Bond Stockton writes that children grow ‘sideways rather than up.’

I made the first series ‘Neonate’ in 2019 and I have consistently returned to them ever since. I make these soft garments cold by turning them inside out and filling them with plaster. After the fabric is cut away and removed, the inside space is captured, a kind of surrogate or stand in for a child is left. There is something about robbing the onesie of its original function and insisting on containing something new in its place. These works are made in small groups almost like siblings. The plaster picks up the colour, staining the casts. Stitching, zips and traces of branding, are mirrored in the plaster body, acting as a reflection or double.

After the works are cast each is recorded through a printing process. Forgotten parts of the used, cut up onesie are inked up and printed as a record. the prints are made on thin cheap paper which deteriorate and discolour through age.

I am currently making the third set of ‘Neonates’ from waterproof onesie jackets. Every new edition carries an aesthetic improvement from the previous edition in a linear generational fashion. The new casts have adapted towards the classical, a plaster front posing as polished marble."

The latest set will be shown in Edinburgh in 2021.

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