The Last Taboo in Art
After viewing an ultrasound image of his newest unborn grandson Jake, alive and kicking inside his pregnant daughter's belly, Norman Gardner decided to see if he could recreate that mind-boggling visual effect in his art. Twelve years later, he has completed almost two dozen prenatal sculptures, examples of which are displayed on this website.
Each composition reflects his personal feelings of reverence and awe at women's amazing ability to create new life inside their own bodies. His commitment to this life-affirming subject has produced a series of assemblages of such diversity and originality as to make them unique in the art world.
Gardner's work is also a heartfelt tribute to his four daughters for giving him nine adorable grandchildren. But he is not alone in celebrating these blessed events because five million babies are born in America every year. Yet Gardner was shocked to discover that for the past 2,000 years, the perfectly normal condition of pregnancy has been hidden behind a veil of superstition, taboo & religious restriction. This taboo was so pervasive that even as recently as the 1950s, the words "pregnant" and "virgin" were not allowed to be spoken on National TV.
Considering that 85% of Americans attend religious services to worship a pregnant woman who also happens to be a virgin, then the 2,000 year old taboo defies logic. For today, a decade into the 21st century, explicit images of procreation and childbirth are routinely shown in popular movies, television shows and on the internet.
Gardner's firm conviction is that there is nothing more beautiful in the world than a woman in the full bloom of child-bearing motherhood. Fortunately, a group of internationally recognized artists agree with him. Marc Chagall, Jean DuBuffet, and Damien Hirst are among those who have created pregnancy related art, giving Gardner's work an historic precedent as well as artistic validation. There is also a priceless medieval woodcarving depicting two pregnant women called, "The Visitation," now on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that predates his work by over 700 years.
Gardner's sculptures may be our nation's golden opportunity to finally reveal the truth about where babies really come from. In fact, they're the ultimate truth about where we ALL come from*the miraculous story of life's beginnings that our nation's art establishment has seen fit to overlook.