Glyph Slipper comprises new works from Nathan’s multifaceted sculpture and drawing-based practice examining the intersection of object and language as they relate to the colonization of the female body from the ancient past to the present moment.
Nathan’s work is varied both in its materiality and process. Lines from drawings on paper are translated into wood and marble sculptures; tablets are cast from both silicone and clay. Movement from one material to another is fluid and varied and a thoughtful rhythm emerges from this playful experimentation and dexterity between forms. Nathan has described her process as an application of pressure to images and language, “cracking open their systems and “distending them into expanded space”.
In Glyph Slipper, Nathan also applies pressure to Western Mythology. In a time of major cultural reset, mythology provides fertile ground for the interrogation of how the world has been shaped through storytelling: who tells the stories and why do we accept their premises? With this work, Amy Nathan circles back to the retelling of myths from Ovid’s Metamorphosis, specifically the intersecting tales of Andromeda, Medusa and Perseus, to consider the control enacted on female bodies. Just as the new translation of the Odyssey—by its first female translator, Emily Wilson—makes visible the inequalities between characters and the context of gender in power relationships, Nathan’s work explores the assumptions we gloss over in these traditional western narratives and how the stories allude to our current hierarchies and social gender dynamics.
Drawing from her early career as a typographer, Nathan deploys a set of symbols or “tools” to dismantle and reconfigure the female narrative. In Glyph Slipper tools associated with female adornment appear throughout the work and represent the objects that we associate with how women present themselves to the world. Nathan states:
This body of work relates the small mechanisms women use to hold their bodies and lives together, to the words, will and strength required to do so. Repeated and regular use changes these objects–bobby pins, rope, zippers, safety pins, locks–into the alphabet women use to present ourselves in the face of contemporary culture and government. I am thinking about the ways that women keep their act together in the face of misogyny, governmental control of our bodies, the constant giving of motherhood and just in being a woman.
Amy Nathan is an artist based in Berkeley, California.
Amy Nathan: Glyph Slipper
Exhibition Dates: September 13 – October 26, 2019
Opens: September 13, 2019 from 6pm – 8pm
Amy Nathan will be joined by artist and educator Catherine Wagner for a conversation and exhibition walk-through on Wednesday, September 25 at 6PM. Attendance is limited; please rsvp to firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your spot.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions
1217 B Fell Street
San Francisco, California