The female body and presence has been associated with nature all the way back to the origins of ‘Mother Nature’; when it was believed it was a womanly spirit or power controlling the life-giving and nurturing aspects of nature. Now this personification connecting women and nature is a reoccurring phenomenon throughout modern culture.
One contemporary artist that continues to embrace these connotations through her art is Nathalia Edenmont. You have probably seen her works at the Nancy Hoffman Gallery booth at the most recent art fairs, including Seattle Art Fair, The Armory Show, and Art Miami in New York. Her works have also been featured in two of Hoffman’s recent group shows, as well as her own solo show, “Nathalia Edenmont: Force of Nature.”
Having grown up as an orphan in Ukraine, Edenmont became independent at a very young age, shaping the beginning of her artistic career. She reveals most of her dark history in her earlier portraiture works, particularly her morbid self portrait, Self-Portrait (Deathbed) from 2007.
“That’s me lying there, the same way my mother did. In reality, she was in an open coffin at the gate of our apartment block, which allowed a large number of people to pay their last respects. Carolina has taken my place and holds mother’s ice-cold hand,” says Edenmont.
Her latest portraiture works, can be uniquely paralleled with world-renowned Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta. Female body manipulation and distortion is everywhere in modern day culture, particularly fashion advertisements and the media. However, artists like Mendieta and Edenmont embrace female curves in order to reveal a much deeper meaning.
In one of Mendieta’s most recognized “earth-works” collections, Silueta Series (1973), she exposed her concern over female displacement and the urban socio-political contexts that prevailed throughout the 60s and 70s. Through her portraits she combined the physical earth with the female body in order to create a metaphorical silhouette. The series was completed in 1977, after which she stated, “For the past five years I have been working out in nature, exploring the relationship between myself, the earth, and art.”
Edenmont encapsulates some of the same metaphorical beliefs behind the manipulation of the female body and the influence of earth’s nature. Like Mendieta she uses photography to reflect the reality of her abnormal childhood along with the socio-political and socio-economic contexts that she became aware of at a young age.
“Photography is able to contain and mimic the same hypocrisy that colored my upbringing. In photographs, wilting flowers bloom long after they have withered. When the blood in my images still looks vivid and alive, the blood in reality has long since congealed and clotted, much like the ideals that once were so vivid in my youth.”
We look forward to seeing more of Edenmont’s work at Nancy Hoffman Gallery as well as future art fairs. To read more about all of her collections view her website.