Hermione WILTSHIRE’s practice–involving photography, sculpture, architecture and performance–has focused on issues around gender, the maternal experience and women's self-image. In Therese in Ecstatic Childbirth (2008),Wiltshire appropriated an image from the archive of Ina May Gaskin, the pioneering ‘Mother of authentic midwifery’, that documents a moment of crowning. This work grew out of research Wiltshire carried out observing the preparations of expectant parents at birthing workshops delivered by the President of the National Childbirth Trust, Gail Werkmeister. Wiltshire comments: ‘My work often reflects my interests in images that are politically charged. I am particularly interested in the cultural anxiety around images of crowning. This moment is seen as shocking and stimulates the same response as a pornographic image.’ Wiltshire has appropriated and represented this archival image in response to many occasions in which images of crowning are often missing from these workshops, in order to not ‘traumatise’ the expectant mothers.
Wiltshire is a senior tutor and fellow at The Royal College of Art and has also been a fellow at the British School in Rome. In 1993, Wiltshire was named a Momart Fellow at Tate Liverpool shortly followed by ‘Elective Affinities’, a solo show at Tate Liverpool, UK. Wiltshire has had numerous group exhibitions in the UK and abroad. Her work is in many major national and international collections including the Arts Council, the Walker Arts collection, the Weltkunst Collection and the National Museum of Modern Art in Dublin.