Eleanor Spiess-Ferris

Zaks Gallery

Though Eleanor Spiess-Ferris immerses her viewers in fully staffed dreamworlds where norms of logic must be surrendered, there is method within her topsy-turvy universe. Spiess-Ferris introduces just enough reality into her pictures to allow her to circumvent it. Indeed, she uses the trappings of existence as a bitter corrosive, turning reality in upon itself.

Woman as nature, woman as victim, woman as life-giver, woman as indefatigable source or recipient of love, sex, pain, and nurturing—each takes a turn in her cosmology. Spiess-Ferris regularly renders these women with missing limbs or large empty cavities in their torsos, gaps that are filled by odd wooden armatures or bizarre structural supports. Sometimes these women are planted directly in the ground, suggesting some odd arboreal hybrid, and in other pictures they sport plumage like birds. Spiess-Ferris imbues these metamorphosing

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the PRINT EDITION of the September 1991 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.