"Bourgeois uses the spider, both predator (a sinister threat) and protector (an industrious repairer), to symbolise the mother figure."
I first learned of Louise Bourgeois in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Gardens in Washington, DC. This was in our pre-kids era and we used to go for jazz and sangria on hot summer nights, dipping our toes in the pond. Wandering through the gardens, my intense fear of spiders kept me from one of the most fascinating interpretations of the "mother". It wasn't until I visited the Bilbao Guggenheim that I really felt a connection with these sculptures (still couldn't touch them though) and the artist Louise Bourgeois.
Quietly exploring her exhibition space along, my husbands rocking our sleeping one year-old, I realized some of my negative feelings and experiences toward "Hollywood" motherhood were being validated in an unexpected and pleasing way. Even now, thinking back, I'm not sure I can put the experience into words; I just remember the experience being quiet and loud, and eerie and comforting, simultaneously. To say the very least, it was unforgettable.