AMY NATHAN: Slipknot Loophole

May 14 - July 30, 2022
Artist Reception: Saturday, May 14, 3-5 PM

Make Appointment


CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions is pleased to announce Slipknot Loophole, a solo exhibition of bas reliefs, drawings, paintings and mixed media sculptures by Bay Area artist Amy Nathan. The works in Slipknot Loophole engage the mechanisms women use to hold themselves together and find that allowing release is an essential part of those systems. Nathan’s second solo exhibition at CULT, Slipknot Loophole will be on view from May 14 to June 29, 2022, with an opening reception on May 14 from 3 to 5 p.m. at CULT’s San Francisco space (1401 16th St.).

Ranging in scale from jewelry to architecture, Nathan’s work continues her material experimentation and her acute study of the distance between image and embodiment. Slipknot Loophole extends Nathan’s engagement with the clothing and tools that are meant to double, reshape and camouflage the body. Eclectic in form and playful in style, Nathan’s works are culled from sources both ancient and contemporary. Interested in depictions of power as diffuse as Athena, J-Lo, Britney Spears and Medusa, Nathan reframes these icons that transcend time and origin. Paparazzi photos and celebrity selfies are remade as Etruscan-style bas reliefs and pause as paintings, combining figurative imagery with geometric pattern and decoration.

The large installation Pelvic Portico includes a kitsch stage-set-like portico, built from a hybrid of lace underwear and the armored exoskeletons of war. Hammered metal sheets made in the image of ruffled lingerie frame arches, and pulled threads stand in as columns. Another sculptural work, Flying Buttress, is a screen-like construction of hinged and painted wood that externalizes the corsetry lacework—hung along walls and pressed into corners in whimsical curlicues of acrylic, vinyl, paint and wood. The bows, ribbons and grommets that flex and release a corset are the sequential, calligraphic dots and lines that show up not only in the painted wood sculptures, but also as a series of drawings. These looping and drooping shapes pause for comic effect—marginalia’s doodles writ large. Nathan, a child of the 1980s, recalls the corsetry of Madonna’s Blond Ambition as the moment when undergarments moved from private to public.

Central to Slipknot Loophole is a trio of pieces that appear first as bas-reliefs and recur as trompe l’oeil paintings. These three images of pop icons are connected by the emboldened gestures they highlight and aptly named, Power Poses. Engaging with these images first through texture, Nathan constructed bas-reliefs out of plaster, resin and clay, then used photography and drawing to recreate their textural experience. Nathan speaks to how duplication and displacement of an idea from one material to another can conceal and reveal in the same breath:

"My studio process of passing an image through states of being (photograph to drawing, to sculpture, to painting) furthers the distance from the original but leaves the physical trace of my hand. I’m interested in how close the casting process feels to photography—I make cast tablets (like printed photographs) from a single clay slab (the "negative"). In several sculptures, an image is cast onto itself multiple times and in different materials, some are opaque layers and some transparent. There is a search for the vestige’s origin that I’m interested in—that archaeological line we follow, hoping to find answers to write the history, to make the myth."

The formal shift from the works employing photographic mimesis to those rendered in calligraphic marks parallels the way we take in and process photograph, image and the written word. Nathan calls up Susan Sontag’s maxim of "The Image World": that a photograph is always "a trace, something stenciled directly off the real."

also includes a wide range of drawings, friezes and sculptures directly depictive of Western antiquity. The corset drawings and sculptures continue Nathan’s "objects as handwriting" project—using ink and calligraphy brush, Nathan draws mechanisms within a gridded structure evoking lined looseleaf or graph paper. In the Corset Grid drawing series, the laces pull and release this framework. In painted wood sculptures such as Flying Buttress and Shine Your Heavenly Body Tonight, the figures are removed from a grid and find agency, striking their own power pose.

Amy Nathan (b. 1973, Madison, Wisconsin) is an artist working in sculpture, painting and installation; her practice asks questions about how meaning can be expressed through visual languages. Nathan's work is guided by ideas such as the gendered nature of politics and power, classical mythology and contemporary literature and the body’s visceral reaction to its environment. Her work has been exhibited at CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, the Headlands Center for the Arts, /room/, AORA London, Traywick Contemporary, Facebook and the International Sculpture Center. Her work has appeared in Artforum, Art Maze Magazine, New American Paintings and Sculpture Magazine and featured with Juxtapoz. She holds an MFA from Mills College and was a Graduate Fellow at Headlands Center for the Arts.

Athena from Florence, 2021 Colored pencil and flashe vinyl paint on paper 13 x 9 in (unframed) 33 x 22.9 cm (unframed) 15.5 x 11.5 (framed)
Athena Spread, 2022 Hydrocal, pigmented resin, clay, acrylic 21 x 14 x 1 in 53.3 x 35.6 x 2.5 cm
Athena Wears Medusa, 2020 Colored pencil and flashe on paper 12 1/2 x 10 in (unframed) 31.8 x 25.4 cm (unframed) 15 x 12.5 in (framed)
Colored Pencil and flashe on paper 14 1/2 x 11 in (unframed) 36.8 x 27.9 cm (unframed) 17 x 13.5 (framed)
Corset Grid II (Exhale), 2021 Ink, flashe vinyl paint, and colored pencil on paper 50 x 38 in (unframed) 127 x 96.5 cm (unframed) 52 x 40.5 in (framed)
Corset Grid III (Inhale), 2021 Ink and colored pencil on paper 50 x 38 in (unframed) 127 x 96.5 cm (unframed) 52 x 40.5 in (framed)
Corset Grid IV, 2021 Ink, flashe vinyl paint, and colored pencil on paper 50 x 38 in (unframed) 127 x 96.5 cm (unframed) 52 x 40.5 in (framed)
Crouching Mars, 2021 Colored pencil and flashe on paper 14 3/4 x 10 in (unframed) 37.5 x 25.4 cm (unframed) 17 x 12.5 in (framed)
Eyelet, 2022 Painted wood, metal hinges 48 x 10 x 7 1/2 in 121.9 x 25.4 x 19.1 cm
Five Figs, 2022 Ink and color pencil on paper 10 x 8 1/4 in (unframed) 25.4 x 21 cm (unframed) 12.5 x 11 in (framed)
Flying Buttress, 2022 Painted wood, metal hinges 94 x 60 x 24 in 238.8 x 152.4 x 61 cm
Colored pencil and flashe vinyl paint on panel 12 x 6 in 30.5 x 15.2 cm
Loose Tongue (Gorgon), 2022 Pigmented platinum silicone rubber, steel, copper, fishing weight, acrylic 47 x 8 1/2 x 3 in 119.4 x 21.6 x 7.6 cm
Mars from Todi, 2021 Colored Pencil and flashe on paper 13.5 x 11 in (unframed) 34.3 x 27.9 cm (unframed) 15.5 x 13.5 (framed)
Mars Statuette, 2021 Colored pencil and flashe on paper mounted to board 18 x 12 in 45.7 x 30.5 cm
Pelvic Portico, 2022 Aluminum, hardware, paint 16 x 36 x 4 in (Installation) 40.6 x 91.4 x 10.2 cm Price Upon Request
Power Pose I, 2021 Flashe vinyl paint, colored pencil, and paper on panel 40 x 22 in 101.6 x 55.9 cm
Power Pose II, 2022 Flashe vinyl paint, colored pencil, and paper on panel 40 x 22 in 101.6 x 55.9 cm
Power Pose III, 2022 Flashe vinyl paint, colored pencil, and paper on panel 40 x 22 in 101.6 x 55.9 cm
Power Pose IV, 2021 Pigmented hydrocal, pigmented resin, acrylic, clay 20 x 12 1/4 x 2 in 50.8 x 31.1 x 5.1 cm
Power Pose V, 2022 Pigmented hydrocal, pigmented resin, ink, acrylic, clay, copper chain, meta 20 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 1 in 52.1 x 29.2 x 2.5 cm
Power Pose VI, 2022 Pigmented hydrocal, pigmented resin, ink, acrylic, clay, glitter 20 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 1 in 52.1 x 29.2 x 2.5 cm
Shine Your Heavenly Body Tonight, 2022 Acrylic, flashe vinyl paint, and copper leaf on wood 65 x 14 x 14 1/2 in 165.1 x 35.6 x 36.8 cm
Situla with Torso and Fig, 2022 Pigmented hydrocal, fi berglass, pigmented resin, acrylic, flashe vinyl paint, clay, epoxy clay, wire 20 x 12 x 5 in 50.8 x 30.5 x 12.7 cm
Slipknot, 2022 Acrylic and flashe vinyl paint on wood, pigmented cast latex 46 x 17 1/2 x 2 in 116.8 x 44.5 x 5.1 cm
Throw My Hands in the Air, 2021 Hydrocal, resin, clay, acrylic, ink, silver leaf, MDF, wood, fiberglass 24 x 23 x 8 in 61 x 58.4 x 20.3 cm
Verso Verso, 2021 Pigmented tuffstone, fiberglass,, marble, pyrite 80 x 14 x 2 inches 203.2 x 35.6 x 5.1 cm


AMY NATHAN: Slipknot Loophole
May 14 - July 30, 2022

Rebekah Goldstein: Welcome Home Stranger
March 19 - May 7, 2022

Sapiens / Stories at CULT Bureau
November 10, 2021 - April 30, 2022


Physics & Fiction
January 20 - March 12, 2022

Chris Fallon: Irresistible Deception
October 15 - December 18, 2021

Sapiens / Stories on 8-Bridges
October 7 - November 3, 2021

Masako Miki: New Mythologies
June 16 - October 12, 2021

Tales of Metamorphosis: Rebekah Goldstein, James Perkins, and Amy Nathan
June 3 - 30, 2021

Janus II - CULT's 7 Year Anniversary Exhibition
April 9 - May 20, 2021

Troy Chew: Yadadamean
October 17 - December 12, 2020

We’re all in this together
August 14 - October 10, 2020

Beyond Words
June 26 - August 29, 2020

Ritual of Succession
January 10 - March 28, 2020

Record of Succession at fused space
January 13 - March 27, 2020

AMY NATHAN: Glyph Slipper
September 13 - December 7, 2019

June 28 - August 3, 2019

April 20 - June 15, 2019

MASAKO MIKI: Shapeshifters
January 12 - March 23, 2019

November 30 - December 14, 2019

REBEKAH GOLDSTEIN: See You On The Flipside
September 8 - November 25, 2018

June 9 - July 28, 2018

March 2 - May 19, 2018

October 27, 2017 - January 20, 2018

January 10 – March 4, 2017

October 21 - December 10, 2016

NO SHOW MUSEUM: Yves Klein, Maria Eichhorn, Daniel Knorr, Etc.
One Night Only: Monday, October 17, 2016

DESIRÉE HOLMAN: Selected Works
September 17 - October 8, 2016

Facundo Argañaraz, Leah Guadagnoli, Desirée Holman, Kara Joslyn, Max Maslansky, Liz Robb, Tamra Seal, Emily Weiner, & Cate White

July 16 - August 20, 2016

PABLO DÁVILA: Ladies & Gentlemen,
We Are Floating In Space

May 13 - July 9, 2016

MASAKO MIKI: Conversations with Fox, Feather, and Ghost
March 4 - April 30, 2016

SUZY POLING: Total Internal Reflection
January 15 - February 27, 2016

DAN GLUIBIZZI: You Don’t Have to be Alone Tonight
November 6 – December 19, 2015

September 11- October 31, 2015

SEXXXITECTURE: Daniel Gerwin, Rebekah Goldstein, Roman Liška, Max Maslansky, May Wilson & Jake Ziemann
July 1 - August 1, 2015

May 1 - June 27, 2015

February 27 - April 25, 2015

PRINCE RAMA: How To Live Forever
January 25 – February 21, 2015

November 7, 2014 – January 16, 2015

September 12 – November 1, 2014

A PATTERN LANGUAGE: Michelle Grabner, Angie Wilson & Lena Wolff
June 20 - July 19, 2014

MICHELLE BLADE: Gathering Into Being
April 25th – June 7th, 2014

MIGUEL ARZABE: /*Reject Algorithms*/
March 7 – April 19, 2014

March 7 – April 19, 2014

& Rhonda Holberton

January 10 - February 22, 2014

UNSEEN: Miya Ando, Miguel Arzabe, Chris Duncan, Klea Mckenna & Dean Smith
November 10 - December 21, 2013

Past Off-Site Exhibitions

April 7 - May 26, 2018

Works by Miguel Arzabe & Juan Sorrentino

April 9 – May 17, 2015

EBB: Gina Borg and Chris Russell at Loczi Design
December 10, 2014