“The painting Lorraine is from the series Conceived. The women on which the paintings in Conceived are based created non-hierarchical networks for sharing reproductive information with other women, sidestepping patriarchal systems of control.
In New York City, Ann Trow Lohman sold abortifacient pills and surgical abortions through newspaper ads. Her work attracted the attention of the American Medical Association and Anthony Comstock. Their intervention led to the outlawing of abortion in the US and the passing of the Comstock Laws in 1873, which outlawed mailing contraceptives, abortifacients, and anything with obscene, sexual or pornographic content.
In 1971, Lorraine Rothman and Carol Downer created the Del Em menstrual extraction device, designed to allow women to perform safe, simple, at-home terminations of early pregnancy. Rothman and Downer sought to return reproductive sovereignty to women, mitigating the need for medical training, equipment, or even the legality of abortion.
Byllye Avery grew up on a farm in DeLand, Florida and, together with her colleagues, opened the first abortion clinic in Gainesville in 1974. Avery founded the National Black Women’s Health Project and was a signatory to 1989’s We Remember: African American Women for Reproductive Freedom, along with Shirley Chisholm, Maxine Waters, and Faye Wattleton.
Their knowledge, conveyed through coded language (Ann), demonstrations in the home (Lorraine), or collective manifestos (Byllye), is instrumental in maintaining freedom as women, regardless of the plays of those in power.”
Luca Molnar, Clinic, 2019. Single-channel digital video. 5 min 29 sec. Courtesy of the artist.
“Clinic movies away from my interest in the domestic sphere and into the public sphere. In contrast to the networks created by women sitting around kitchen tables, this video piece investigates the public, outward experience of abortion in the US. The stills are screenshots from Google Maps of every active abortion clinic in the states least friendly to reproductive rights as of November 1, 2019. The length of time the clinic is shown on screen is proportionate to the number of women it serves. The text is from the Army of God, a Christian domestic terrorist group, and the audio is pulled from AP raw footage of the aftermath of attacks on abortion clinics.”
Luca Molnar (b. 1991, Budapest, Hungary) (she/her) received her MFA from New York University and her BA in Studio Art from Dartmouth College. Recent exhibitions include Formation at Spartanburg Art Museum; Conceived, part of Fresh Squeezed 4, at the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg, FL; and The House Made of Sugar with A.I.R. Gallery, NADA House. Molnar is an Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida. She is a painter, most days.